June 17th, 2013 – Today’s Supreme Court ruling is expected to save consumers and health plans as much as $3.5 billion a year, by forcing pharmaceutical companies to provide generic drugs without delay.
Some brand name drug makers slightly change the formula for a drug or how it is administered to a patient in an effort to extend their 20 year patent period. The prospective generic drug maker then typically sues the brand name drug maker and the suit often ends in a settlement where the brand name maker pays the generic drug maker to delay selling a generic for several years.
With today’s ruling, brand name drug maker’s can be sued for anti-trust law violation if they enter into a settlement with a generic drug marketer that causes the release of the generic drugs to be delayed.
However, the Supreme Court did not rule that “pay for delay” deals are usually illegal under the antitrust laws, as the FTC had argued, so the outcome for each case will vary, based upon the facts.