The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Monday concerning the patent disputes and "pay for delay" tactics.
Often, large pharmaceutical firms are embroiled within patent disputes that not only cause a delay in treatment and sometimes testing, but can keep new drugs off the market longer than necessary. Also, in order to make sure prices stay high, another practice is common. According to U.S. and state regulators, pharmaceutical firms make deals with rivals to keep cheaper products away from consumers.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has branded these deals "pay for delay," in order to generate additional revenue for drug companies, and they cost consumers, insurers and government bodies billions of dollars annually.
Having fought pharmaceutical firms in court for over a decade, the FTC's case has now landed in front of the Supreme Court. The question is whether such deals are anti-competitive or illegal, something both U.S. and European authorities have debated. In a brief, the FTC commented:
"The continuing stream of monopoly profits is large enough to pay the generic competitors more than they could hope to earn if they entered the market at competitive prices."
A decision is expected this year.
Image credit: e-Magine