High court weighs drug companies' generics policy

by Jesse J. Holland
In this Aug. 12, 2011 file photo, Jeremy Lazarus, president-elect of the American Medical Association (AMA) speaks in Portland, Oregon. The Supreme Court will struggle this week with whether it's legal for patent-holding pharmaceutical companies to pay rivals, who make generic drugs, to temporarily keep those cheaper versions of their brand-name drugs off the market. Now AMA President, Lazarus said in a statement,"The AMA believes that pay-for-delay agreements undermine the balance between spurring innovation through the patent system and fostering competition through the development of generic drugs. Pay for delay must stop to ensure the most cost-effective treatment options are available to patients." (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

(AP)—The Supreme Court is struggling with whether it should stop pharmaceutical corporations from paying generic drug competitors to delay releasing their cheaper versions of brand-name drugs.

Justices heard arguments from federal officials Monday that these deals can be anticompetitive and keeps lower-cost generic drugs out of American hands. But pharmaceutical companies say these deals save litigation costs and often bring generics to market faster.

A government lawyer argued the companies should be forced to prove that their deals serve a purpose beyond simply paying a 's maker not to challenge a brand-name drug's patent.

In a Jan. 7, 2008, file photo then-Attorney Donald Verrilli talks to media outside the Supreme Court. Now President Barack Obama's top Supreme Court lawyer, Solicitor General Verilli will argue before the Supreme Court this week whether it is legal for patent-holding pharmaceutical companies to pay rivals, who make generic drugs, to temporarily keep those cheaper versions of their brand-name drugs off the market. The Obama administration is taking the position that the agreements are illegal if they're based solely on keeping the generic drug out of consumer's hands. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

But a pharmaceutical company lawyer says they shouldn't be forced to litigate each generic vs. brand-name drug to conclusion when a settlement can be reached.

Justices will make a decision later this year.

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Court: Can drug companies pay to delay generics?

Mar 24, 2013

(AP)—Federal regulators are pressing the Supreme Court to stop big pharmaceutical corporations from paying generic drug competitors to delay releasing their cheaper versions of brand-name drugs. They argue ...

Supreme Court ruling supports generic drug makers

Apr 18, 2012

The US Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that generic drug makers can challenge big-name pharmaceutical firms in court to stop them from broadening the scope of their patent descriptions.

Pharmaceutical intellectual property laws need reform

Nov 07, 2011

Canada's pharmaceutical intellectual property laws need major reform to encourage and protect innovation in developing new drugs, states an analysis in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Court: Can generic makers be sued for drug flaws?

Nov 30, 2012

(AP)—The Supreme Court will decide whether generic drug manufacturers can be held responsible in state courts for possible design defects that are in the brand-name medicine they are copying.

Recommended for you

Viagra ads target women for first time

Sep 30, 2014

The maker of the world's top-selling erectile dysfunction drug on Tuesday will begin airing the first Viagra TV commercial in America that targets the less-obvious sufferers of the sexual condition: women.

User comments