Friday, March 31, 2006
The KaiserNetwork.Org states that the Federal Trade Commission has issued subpoenas to 190 pharmaceutical companies. According to the story,
The Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday announced that it plans to subpoena 190 drug companies in an investigation of possible anti-competitive practices in the pharmaceutical industry, the AP/Los Angeles Times reports. The subpoenas, which require approval from the Office of Management and Budget, would be part of a probe into whether pharmaceutical companies are suppressing competition by releasing authorized generic versions of their own brand-name drugs to coincide with the introduction of products from generic drug makers. Under federal law, after a generic pharmaceutical company successfully challenges a patent held by a brand-name manufacturer, it has six months of exclusivity to sell the drug in the generic market by itself. However, a loophole allows brand-name manufacturers to authorize their own generic versions, which increasingly are entering the market at the beginning of the six-month exclusivity period. Generic drug manufacturers depend on that exclusivity period to recover their costs and make a profit, but with authorized generics entering the generic market sooner, profit margins are falling for generic manufacturers. FTC plans to study whether the authorized-generic loophole benefits brand-name companies in the long run by discouraging generic drug makers from challenging patents. Lawmakers requested in May 2005 that the FTC conduct the investigation, and a final report is due by late 2007 (Bridges, AP/Los Angeles Times, 3/30).
Thanks to the HealthyPolicy blog for the website. [bm]