Federal Trade Commission Derides Warner Chilcott, PLC And "Product Hopping"

Published: Nov 28, 2012

In its latest bid to level the playing field for generic drugs, the US Federal Trade Commission has filed a supportive brief in a lawsuit charging Warner Chilcott with concocting various schemes to thwart generic competition for its Doyrx acne pill. The lawsuit was filed last July by Mylan Laboratories, which claims the tactics were anticompetitive and cost consumers and taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. At issue is a concept called product switching or product hopping in which a brand-name drugmaker makes modest reformulations that purportedly offer little or no therapeutic advantages, but cause generic drugmakers to reformulate their own aspiring copycat versions. Such tactics can delay generic entries into the marketplace and, as a result, forestall competition that, presumably, would offer lower prices to consumers and government programs. And this is what Mylan accuses Warner Chilcott of doing several times over the past few years. To keep generic competition at bay, Warner Chilcott (WCRX) allegedly converted the market from Doryx capsules to tablets; released a study for administering Doryx with applesauce and sought a labeling change to require generic rivals to develop tablets that could be sprinkled over applesauce; and added scores, or lines, on Doryx tablets so patients would presumably find it easier to divide a tablet into thirds, court documents state.

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