Defendants in reverse-payment actions pending in the Third Circuit (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware) take note: in In re Effexor XR Antitrust Litigation the Honorable Joel A. Pisano, U.S.D.J., of the District of New Jersey has stayed several class-action litigations challenging the legality of certain reverse-payment settlement agreements between Wyeth and generic drug manufacturer Teva Pharmaceuticals, pursuant to which Wyeth allegedly paid Teva to delay its marketing of a generic counterpart to Wyeth’s Effexor XR drug.
As we anticipated, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) filed a petition for certiorari yesterday with the Supreme Court in FTC v. Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. In that case, the Eleventh Circuit upheld reverse payments (payments made by branded pharmaceutical patent holders to generic challengers to postpone market entry under the scope-of-the-patent approach, i.e., as long as the anti-competitive effects fall within the scope of the exclusionary potential of the patent, absent sham litigation or fraud), as lawful. The Second and Federal Circuits follow that approach. In contrast, the Third Circuit has held that such payments are presumptively anti-competitive under the “quick look rule of reason analysis” that may be rebutted by showing that the payments was for something other than delay or that the payment has a competitive benefit, and thereby increases competition.
We have written previously on numerous developments concerning reverse payments in Hatch-Waxman litigation settlements (i.e., payments made by branded pharmaceutical patent holders to generic challengers to postpone market entry of proposed generic products). Earlier this month, we reported that Merck & Co. had filed a petition for a Writ of Certiorari seeking to challenge the Third Circuit’s decision in In re K-Dur Antitrust Litig. holding that reverse payments are prima facie evidence of an antitrust violation.