The US Supreme Court on Friday agreed to decide whether brand-name drug companies may pay money to generic drug rivals to keep their lower-priced products off the market, a practice estimated to cost consumers and the government billions of dollars each year.
The arrangements, known as "pay-for-delay" or "reverse payments," have for more than a decade vexed antitrust enforcers including the Federal Trade Commission, which have been stung until recently by a series of court decisions allowing such practices.
In a typical case, a generic rival challenges the patent of a brand-name competitor, which then pays the rival a sum of money to drop its challenge. Defenders of the practice call it a legitimate means to resolve patent litigation.
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