Supreme Court Hears Pay To Delay Pharmaceutical Case

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Monday in a case worth billions of dollars to pharmaceutical companies and American consumers. The issue is whether brand-name drug manufacturers may pay generic drug manufacturers to keep generics off the market. These payments — a form of settlement in patent litigation — began to blossom about a decade ago when the courts, for the first time, appeared to bless them. Consumer advocates, health care organizations and retail outlets call these payments “pay to delay.” The drugmakers hate that term and have a different name. They call the payments “reverse settlements.” But the bottom line is that in these cases, the people who usually sue each other — the patent-holding drugmakers and the alleged patent violators (the generic drugmakers) — are on the same side, supporting the payments. Challenging the payments is the Federal Trade Commission, which sees these monetary arrangements as collusion, a way to

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