For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
Date: February 25, 2008
Wasden Announces $5.9 Million Settlement in Antitrust Lawsuit
(Boise) – The State of Idaho will receive $90,309 as its portion of a $5.9 million settlement with Barr Pharmaceuticals (Barr), a manufacturer of Ovcon, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced today. The lawsuit, joined by 33 other states and the District of Columbia, alleged that Barr and Warner Chilcott committed antitrust violations that prevented generic versions of the oral contraceptive Ovcon from being available to consumers.
The lawsuit was filed in 2005 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. It alleged that Warner Chilcott paid Barr $20 million to keep Barr from marketing a generic version of Ovcon. According to the lawsuit, Ovcon has been sold in the United States since 1976 as an oral contraceptive. Warner Chilcott became the exclusive U.S. distributor of Ovcon in early 2000.
In early 2003, Barr announced that it planned to have a generic version of Ovcon on the market by the end of that year. The lawsuit alleges that Warner Chilcott paid Barr $1 million in September 2003 in an agreement designed to prevent Barr’s generic product from coming to market. Under the terms of the alleged agreement, once Barr received FDA approval to market generic Ovcon, Warner Chilcott had 90 days to pay Barr $19 million, after which Barr would refuse to bring the cheaper generic version to the market.
“When companies chose to engage in anticompetitive pricing tactics, it oftentimes hurts the consumers who pay inflated prices,” Attorney General Wasden said.
The states, including Idaho, settled their lawsuit against Warner Chilcott in 2007 for $5.5 million. The state of Idaho received $74,804 from that settlement.
The states’ lawsuit was filed as a law enforcement action seeking civil penalties and other relief. The relief that was obtained through the settlement will help ensure that these companies will not engage in similar conduct in the future.
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