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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Raquel Guillory, 410-576-6357
rguillory@oag.state.md.us

Attorney General Gansler Announces Settlement with
Maker of Popular Oral Contraceptive

BALTIMORE, MD (June 13, 2007) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today the settlement of a lawsuit against Warner Chilcott Holdings Company III., Ltd., makers of the popular oral contraceptive product Ovcon. The lawsuit, joined by 33 other states and the District of Columbia, charged Warner Chilcott and a chief competitor, Barr Pharmaceuticals, Inc., with unlawfully agreeing to deny consumers the opportunity to purchase a less expensive, generic version of the drug. Under the terms of the settlement, Warner Chilcott will pay $5.5 million to Maryland and the other litigating states.

In 2003, Barr Pharmaceuticals publicly announced that it planned to introduce a generic version of Ovcon by the end of that year, pending final Food and Drug Administration approval. According to the lawsuit, Warner Chilcott paid Barr $1 million in September, 2003 to prevent Barr’s generic product from ever reaching the market. In addition, Warner Chilcott allegedly agreed to pay Barr an additional $19 million to not bring its generic product to market in the event of final FDA approval.

“Companies cannot strike illegal deals that harm consumers,” said Attorney General Gansler. “I am pleased that we were able to reach a settlement in this case, ensuring that consumers will not be victimized by companies trying to make a profit at their expense.”

The lawsuit was filed by the Attorney General’s Antitrust Division as a law enforcement action in which the states sought civil penalties and injunctive relief. The relief that was obtained through the settlement will help ensure that Warner Chilcott will not engage in similar conduct in the future. A separate lawsuit against Barr continues in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

   

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