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A federal appeals court denied a bid by a pharmaceutical industry trade group to block a closely watched California law that bans so-called pay-to-delay deals between drug makers, a contentious issue that has factored into the larger debate over the cost of prescription medicines.

The ruling, which was issued Friday, came in response to a lawsuit by the Association for Accessible Medicines after California passed its law last fall. The state became the first in the nation to outlaw pay-to-delay deals, and California officials explained the step was necessary in order to prevent drug companies from thwarting competition and maintaining higher prices.


In these deals, a brand-name drug maker settles a patent lawsuit by paying cash or transferring something else of value to an erstwhile generic rival, which agrees to delay launching a copycat medicine until a specific date in the future. This gives the brand-name drug maker more time to sell its medicine without lower-cost competition.

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  • As usual with Big Pharma sunshine is the best disinfectant and “pay-to-delay” is just one more egregious example of why that’s true.

    Thanks, Ed, good article and I’d love to see a challenge to the pharma trade associations to show us their math, no erasers allowed.

    Pardon the cynicism (not really) and always remember Rule #1: when two or more pharma companies do a deal rest assured the patient is the loser. There’s rare exceptions that happen about as often as Trump tells the truth.

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