Generics controversy issue widens

June 5, 2006

A dispute between the U.S. Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission over generic drugs is reportedly widening with implications for the drug firms.

The issue relates to the legality of deals between drug companies and those making the generic versions, reports the Financial Times. As the controversy heats up, the FTC, over the objections of the Bush administration, may file a second petition urging the Supreme Court to decide the issue.

The Financial Times report says the rift between the two departments results from a complex patent dispute involving a company and a drug for treating the side effects of blood pressure medicines. The FTC claims a deal the company and a generic rival made subsequently is anti-competitive.

The report says while settlements between drug companies do not usually violate antitrust laws, they do when branded drug groups offer their generic rivals deals to stay out of the market until a certain date.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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