Diane Bieri, PhRMA Vice President and General Counsel, writes (in Xconomy) that so called "pay for delay" legislation outlawing the practice would be bad policy. She argues that "patent settlements" of this type by Big Pharma and its generic drug challengers actually free up court time, and get generic drugs to market sooner - before the innovator patent actually expires. She writes that "pay for delay" is a mischaracterization and that some federal legislators are falling for it.
According to Biere, rather than change the law, we should all rely on the FTC and courts to oversee that any so-called "pay for delay" deals are not anti-competitive and int he best interests of patients. Misguided attempts to outlaw "pay fo delay" will only raise court costs and hinder patient access to lower-cost generics -- that account for 74% of all prescriptions written in the US today.
That's certainly one point of view -- that of PhRMA. This point of view was backed by four US Senators seeking to block any legislation to ban "pay for delay" deals back in September. Also in September, a Federal Appeals court declined to change its previous ruling that "pay for delay" deals were legal.
The CBO, FTC and US DOJ have all at one time or another come out against "pay for delay" deals. One top regulator, Jon Lebowitz of the FTC, terms the practice the "most corrupt" in the healthcare industry and "blatantly anti-competitve". That's the other point of view. See here and here for more.
Posted by Bruce Lehr December 3rd 2010.