For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
Date: June 13, 2007
Wasden Joins $5.5 Million Settlement In Antitrust Lawsuit
(Boise) - The State of Idaho will receive $74,804 as its portion of a $5.5 million settlement with the makers of Ovcon, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced today. The lawsuit, joined by 33 other states and the District of Columbia, alleged that Warner Chilcott and Barr Pharmaceuticals committed antitrust violations that prevented generic versions of the oral contraceptive Ovcon, from being available to consumers.
"When generic drugs come on the market, it almost always results in competition and lower prices," Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said.
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, and Warner Chilcott became the exclusive U.S. distributor of Ovcon in early 2000.
In 2003, Barr publicly 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 on the market. Under the terms of the alleged agreement, once Barr received approval from the FDA 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.
The states’ lawsuit was filed as a law enforcement action seeking civil penalties and other relief. The relief obtained through the settlement will help ensure that Warner Chilcott will not engage in similar conduct in the future.
The lawsuit against Barr continues in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
The states’ lawsuit does not address individual harm, which is the subject of separate private class action lawsuits.
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