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FTC: Drug companies colluded to stifle competition

For the second time since May, the Federal Trade Commission is taking action against pharmaceutical companies accused of colluding to delay release of generic drugs to inflate prices and boost profits.

The FTC's latest action, announced on Tuesday, settled charges against Concordia Pharmaceuticals and Par Pharmaceutical over the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder drug Kapvay. Unlike the earlier $1.2 billion settlement with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries over delaying generics of the sleep-disorder drug Provigil from coming to market, this settlement did not have a financial penalty attached.

Until May 15, the FTC said, only Concordia and Par were allowed market generic Kapvay. Rather than competing, however, the FTC said, Concordia agreed to stay out of the market -- accepting a deal that provided the company a portion of Par's revenues.

"By signing this agreement not to compete shortly before Concordia's patent covering branded Kapvay ended, Concordia and Par reduced the number of competing generic Kapvay products available to consumers, depriving consumers of the lower prices that typically occur with generic competition," Debbie Feinstein, director of the FTC's Bureau of Competition, said in a statement.

The settlement prevents the companies from continuing "anticompetitive provisions of its agreement with Par, including the profit-sharing provisions, and Par is prohibited from enforcing provisions that bar Concordia from agreeing not to sell an authorized generic version of Kapvay."

The FTC said after the company learned of its probe, Concordia brought a generic version of Kapvay to the market.

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