A Pharmaceutical company has agreed to pay 34 states, including Iowa, $5.9 million for allegedly entering into an illegal agreement that prevented a cheaper version of "the pill" from coming to market. Under the settlement, Barr Pharmaceuticals did not admit any wrongdoing.
But, Iowa Attorney General’s office spokesperson Bob Brammer says the states accused Barr of accepting payment from another company to keep Barr from marketing a generic version of a prescription oral contraceptive.
"Barr Pharmaceuticals ended up taking a $20 million payment to keep Barr from marketing a generic version of a contraceptive called Ovcon," Brammer said. The company accused of paying Barr, Warner Chilcott Corporation, agreed to a multi-million dollar settlement with the states last year. The states’ lawsuit, filed in November of 2005, claimed the agreement between the companies stifled competition.
"When competition was restored and (Barr) did bring the generic drug on-line, the price dropped a lot," Brammer says, "in fact, it’s almost 50 percent lower now than when the states took this action." Iowa’s share of the settlement is $107,000. The money is to be used for consumer protection efforts as well as attempts to crack down on alleged monopolies in the business world. Ovcon has been on the market since 1976.