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The number of so-called pay-to-delay deals declined in fiscal year 2015, the second consecutive year that a drop occurred since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled these controversial agreements can be subject to antitrust scrutiny, according to the latest tally by the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC has kept a watchful eye on these deals, which involve settlements of patent litigation between brand-name and generic drug makers, over concerns that some violate antitrust laws. The agency, which has gone to court several times to argue this point, has in the past claimed these deals cost U.S. consumers an estimated $3.5 billion annually.


In these agreements, a brand-name drug maker may offer cash or something else of value, such as a deal not to sell its own “authorized” generic version. In return, the brand-name drug maker wins more time to sell its medicine without lower-cost competition. The generic drug maker also comes away with a deal to sell its own copycat product at a specified future date.

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