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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 Barr Pharmaceuticals
Company Attempted to Prevent the Manufacture of the Generic Version of Popular Oral Contraceptive Drug

BALTIMORE, MD (February 25, 2008) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today the settlement of a civil lawsuit against Barr Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The lawsuit, joined by 33 other states and the District of Columbia, charged Barr and Warner Chilcott Holdings Company III, Ltd., with unlawfully agreeing to deny consumers the opportunity to purchase a less expensive generic version of the popular oral contraceptive product, Ovcon. Under the terms of the settlement, Barr will pay $5.9 million to Maryland and the other litigating states. The plaintiff states settled their lawsuit against Warner Chilcott, the manufacturer of Ovcon, in June, 2007 for $5.5 million.

In 2003, Barr publicly announced that it planned to introduce a generic version of Ovcon by the end of that year, pending final Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 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, once Barr received final FDA approval to market generic Ovcon, Warner Chilcott allegedly agreed to pay Barr an additional $19 million to not bring its generic product to market.

“Consumers cannot be forced to pay more for prescription medication as a result of illegal deals struck behind closed doors,” said Attorney General Gansler. “As a result of this settlement, 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 Barr will not engage in similar conduct in the future.

   

Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372
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