FTC. v. Actavis, Inc.

Posted on June 19, 2013


FTC. v. Actavis, Inc.

Here’s a Supreme Court case that makes me a little happy but mostly makes me want to rant.

It started with generic drug company challenges to the patent held by the maker of Androgel, which is a topical gel containing testosterone, used for men with low testosterone, including some trans men. Like most patented medications, this stuff is expensive, leaving many guys who need T stuck with injections, which are a lot less expensive but hurt, because it involves sticking oneself with a needle.

I kinda hate needles. And I generally think that the more generic meds can be had, the better. Competition keeps prices down and limits on patents keeps the big companies focused on the Next Big Thing that might actually do some good in the world instead of resting on their drug-dealin’ laurels.

So anyway, several generic drug manufacturers challenged the patents, but then dropped it when Solvay, the makers of Androgel bribed them settled with them via a “reverse payment” settlement where Solvay basically pays them millions of dollars NOT to challenge the patent or manufacture a less expensive version, and to market Androgel for them instead.

I’m not the only one who smells a skunk in that sort of arrangement. the Federal Trade Commission brought suit against Actavis, one of the generic manufacturers, for dropping their patent challenge and sharing in the monopoly profits. It was summarily dismissed until it got to the Supreme Court.

The Court ruled that it needed more than just the quick look given for a summary judgment, and remanded it, giving the lower courts a chance to actually look at what’s going on with the expectation that they will require better justification for these hijinks than just the general preference for disputes to be settled out of court.

I for one will keep my fingers crossed for an outcome that will take this tool for skinning the consumer out of the hands of Big Pharma.

Posted in: Law, rants