TOPICS > Health

Courts weigh in on generic drug delays

BY Megan Thompson  June 28, 2014 at 9:27 AM EST

PBS NewsHour Weekend’s Megan Thompson spoke with Ed Silverman, author of the Wall Street Journal’s Pharmalot blog.

On Saturday, PBS NewsHour Weekend will air an investigation into controversial business practices sometimes used when brand-name drugs go generic.

In legal battles over drug patents, a drug company will sometimes make a payment to a generic manufacturer that opponents allege is meant to delay the generic to market.

The Federal Trade Commission, which has made fighting the deals one of its top priorities, calls the practice “pay for delay.” The FTC says the deals cost consumers $3.5 billion each year.

To learn more about this issue, I spoke to Ed Silverman who writes the Pharmalot blog for the Wall Street Journal. He has covered the pharmaceutical industry for almost 20 years.

Silverman said last year’s Supreme Court decision, FTC v. Activis Inc., could open the door to more lawsuits against drug companies engaged in the practice.

Silverman also said the deals have gotten more complicated over the years. As he wrote for the Wall Street Journal, courts are currently grappling with what constitutes a “payment.”