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Drug companies sued over contraceptive

Nov. 8, 2005 at 10:52 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- The Federal Trade Commission has filed a suit claiming two pharmaceutical companies conspired to keep the generic version of a contraceptive off the market.

At least 20 states and the District of Columbia have joined the suit against Warner Chilcott Corp. of New Jersey and Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc. of New York, the Austin, Texas, Business Journal reported.

Warner Chilcott has been the only U.S. distributor of Ovcon since 2000. In 2003, when Barr said it would apply for permission to distribute a generic version of the oral contraceptive, Warner offered the company an option that, if exercised, would keep Barr from distributing the generic version or selling its right to do so.

Barr received $1 million for the option and an additional $19 million when Warner exercised the option after the generic version received FDA approved it.

"Warner Chilcott used its financial muscle to maintain its monopoly over this drug, which cost Texas consumers lots of money in the long run," said Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott as he announced that his state is joining the suit.

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