The Supreme Court issued a 5-3 decision Monday in the case FTC v. Actavis. The Court reversed the Eleventh Circuit's decision, which had held that so-called "reverse-payment settlements" are immune from antitrust challenge if the anticompetitive effects fall within the scope of the patent term.
"In early 2007, I chaired a hearing raising concerns about reverse-payment settlements between brand-name and generic pharmaceutical companies that are harming consumers and raising health care costs. In each of the last three Congresses, the Senate Judiciary Committee has reported bipartisan legislation to protect consumers from anticompetitive drug settlements. I am pleased that the Court today recognized that antitrust policies play an important role in protecting consumers even when patents are at issue. Today's decision should caution drug companies against making payments to delay competition and harm consumers."