Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Announces $5.9 Million Settlement with Barr Pharmaceuticals
Attorney General Jack Conway announced today the settlement of a multi-state civil law enforcement action against Barr Pharmaceuticals. The lawsuit, joined by 33 other states and the District of Columbia, charged Barr Pharmaceuticals and Warner Chilcott with antitrust violations that have prevented generic versions of the prescription oral contraceptive Ovcon® from reaching the marketplace.
Barr Pharmaceuticals will pay $5.9 million to the states under the terms of the settlement agreement. Kentucky will receive $120,000 of the settlement. This same group of state Attorneys General settled their suit against co-defendant Warner Chilcott in 2007 for $5.5 million. Kentucky received $102,000 as its share of that settlement.
“Companies cannot and will not artificially manipulate the marketplace,” Attorney General Conway said. “Consumers have the right to competitively priced prescriptions and limiting the availability and supply of generic drugs is a clear violation of the law.”
The civil complaint was filed in 2005 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The lawsuit alleges that Warner Chilcott paid Barr Pharmaceuticals $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. Warner Chilcott became the exclusive U.S. distributor of Ovcon in early 2000. In early 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 for an option agreement designed to prevent Barr’s generic product from coming to market. Under the terms of the alleged agreement, once Barr received FDA approval 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.
Because this lawsuit was filed as a law enforcement action, the states sought civil penalties and equitable relief. The relief that was obtained through the settlement will help ensure that these companies will not engage in similar conduct in the future.