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In a big win for the Federal Trade Commission, a federal judge ordered AbbVie (ABBV) and another company to pay $448 million to consumers for violating antitrust laws and striking deals that delayed lower-cost generic versions of their AndroGel testosterone treatment from reaching the market.

The Friday decision comes in response to a lawsuit the FTC filed nearly four years ago in which AbbVie was accused of filing “sham” patent litigation against potential generic rivals, and then entered into an allegedly illegal patent settlement in order to thwart competition.


This type of scenario is often referred to as a pay-to-delay deal. In these deals, a brand-name drug maker settles with a generic rival by offering something of value in exchange for ending patent litigation and launching a copycat medicine at a future date.

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