The patent pay-for-delay scam


Paul Sutton

In recent years, branded drug manufacturers have engaged in a tactic designed to stifle competition from lower-cost generic medicines.

. In what are known as ‘pay-for-delay’ patent settlements, generic drug competition is effectively blocked. A US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) study estimates that these anti-competitive arrangements result in $3.5 billion of higher annual drug costs.

The FTC has filed lawsuits and supported anti-pay-for-delay legislation in an effort to stop this practice. Whether pay-for-delay tactics violate US antitrust laws is a matter currently before the courts. If there is an ultimate court finding that these tactics constitute an antitrust violation, those who engage in this practice may find themselves the targets of criminal prosecutions.

An excellent consideration of whether pay-for-delay is illegal was written by Lyle Denniston in his blog Argument preview: Is “pay for delay” of drugs illegal? at  

FTC, pay-for-delay, patent