On May 10, the Federal Trade Commission announced that Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC and two generic drug makers had violated federal law by failing to notify antitrust authorities about agreements involving Sanofi’s insomnia drug Ambien CR. The FTC found no harm to consumers or competition in this instance and recommended no enforcement action, but the agency seized upon the opportunity to provide public guidance to the industry about the scope the filing requirement under the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA).
The MMA requires filing of certain types of agreements between a brand name drug company and a generic drug applicant that has submitted an Abbreviated New Drug Application that contains a certification that a patent asserted to cover the branded drug is invalid or not infringed (“Paragraph IV certification”). Failure to file within ten business days exposes the parties to penalties of up to $11,000 for each day the party is in violation of the notification requirement.
The Advisory Letters issued by the FTC analyze the Sanofi agreements and seek to clarify how the FTC interprets the Act. The FTC has signaled that it will recommend enforcement actions for future violations of the MMA. This announcement emphasizes the continuing concern that the FTC has shown for the anti-competitive impact of deals between brand name drug manufacturers and generic competitors. The FTC has in recent years repeatedly attacked so-called “pay-for-delay” deals.
For more information on the Sanofi settlement and to view the FTC Press Release with links to Advisory Letters, please visit: https://ftc.gov/opa/2011/05/sanofi.shtm.