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.