Oregon Department of Justice

Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum

Oregon Department of Justice - Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum
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February 25, 2008

Oregon to Share $5.9 Million With 34 Other States

Attorney General Hardy Myers today filed a stipulated final order and permanent injunction against Barr Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Barr) of Pomona, New York, settling a 2005 lawsuit that charged Barr and Warner Chilcott, a national drug marketer and distributor, with antitrust violations that allegedly prevented generic versions of a prescription oral contraceptive from reaching the marketplace. The Oregon Department of Justice, joined by thirty-three other states and the District of Columbia, filed the $5.9 million agreement in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Attorneys General settled their lawsuit against Warner Chilcott of New Jersey in 2007 for $5.5 million.

"This lawsuit was filed as a law enforcement action under the antitrust laws asking the court for substantial civil penalties and equitable relief," Myers explained. "We are confident that this multi-million dollar settlement will help ensure that these two companies will not engage in similar conduct in the future."

The civil complaint was filed in 2005 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and alleged that Warner Chilcott paid Barr $20 million to keep Barr from marketing a generic version of Ovcon®. According to the lawsuit, Ovcon® has been sold in the United States since 1976 as an oral contraceptive. Warner Chilcott became the exclusive U.S. distributor of Ovcon® in early 2000. In early 2003, Barr publicly announced that it planned to have a generic version of Ovcon® on the market by the end of that year. The lawsuit alleges that Warner Chilcott paid Barr $1 million in September 2003 for an option agreement designed to prevent Barr's generic product from coming to market.

Under the terms of the alleged agreement, once Barr received FDA approval to market generic Ovcon®, Warner Chilcott had 90 days to pay Barr $19 million, after which Barr would refuse to bring the cheaper generic version to the market.

Consumers wanting more information about this antitrust case or Oregon consumer protection in general may call the Attorney General's consumer hotline at (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392. DOJ is online at www.doj.state.or.us.


Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) jan.margosian@doj.state.or.us |
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