U.S. finds no wrongdoing in Yasmin patent settlement

WASHINGTON, Tue Oct 2, 2012 – U.S. antitrust regulators found no wrongdoing in a deal made four years ago between German drugmaker Bayer AG and a division of Teva Pharmaceuticals o end patent litigation over the popular Yasmin birth control pill.

The Federal Trade Commission, in letters dated Sept. 26 but posted on the agency’s website this week, said it had reviewed the matter and said, “No further action is warranted by the commission at this time. Accordingly, the investigation has been closed.”

The FTC had been looking at the deal made by Bayer and Barr Laboratories, which was purchased by Teva, in 2008 to settle what was then a three-year fight over whether Barr infringed on Bayer’s “Yasmin” patent to make its own generic contraceptives.

Under the supply and licensing agreement, Barr paid Bayer a fixed percentage of its revenues for the contraceptive, Bayer said in its 2011 annual report.

The FTC had no comment beyond the letter. Spokespeople for Bayer and Teva did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The FTC has battled what it calls “pay for delay” settlements for years with mixed success. In the deals, brand-name drug companies typically sue generic firms for infringement and then settle, with the generic firm agreeing to delay entry into the market.

The FTC has also pushed for legislation to ban the deals.

J&J picks Bayer executive Peterson as group worldwide chairman

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., Thu Sep 13, 2012 – Johnson & Johnson said Sandra Peterson, currently a Bayer executive, will take on the new role of group worldwide chairman, overseeing a consent decree at the company’s troubled manufacturing plants that produce over-the-counter drugs.

Beginning Dec. 1, Peterson will oversee information technology and the global supply chain, as well as J&J’s vast consumer business, which makes products including Tylenol, baby shampoo and Band-Aids, the company said on Thursday.

Peterson, 52, will also become a member of the J&J executive committee, the company said.

Shares of J&J were up 9 cents at $68.24 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

J&J’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare has been operating under a consent decree after three of its manufacturing plants failed to curb quality lapses that had sparked a flood of recalls for its nonprescription medicines, such as Tylenol painkiller.

Over the past couple of years, faulty manufacturing has prompted J&J’s McNeil unit to recall millions of bottles and packages of Tylenol, Motrin, Rolaids, Benadryl and other products. Some of these recalls affected the company’s distribution worldwide.

Peterson is chairman and chief executive officer of Bayer AG affiliate Bayer CropScience AG, based in Europe, a position she has held since 2010. Before that, she was president and CEO of Bayer Medical Care and president of Bayer HealthCare AG’s Diabetes Care Division.

Prior to joining Bayer in 2005, Peterson spent 5 years in leadership roles at Medco Health Solutions.