AG Settles Birth Control Case

1 decade 5 months 4 weeks ago Wednesday, June 13 2007 Jun 13, 2007 Wednesday, June 13, 2007 8:49:18 PM CDT June 13, 2007 in News

"General prescription have increased, and healthcare costs have increased in the last ten years," Kilgore's staff pharmacist Bill Morrissey said.

Now, the producers of Ovcon, a birth control pill, have settled a lawsuit against Barr Laboratories.

"They then entered into an agreement with Warner Chilcutt where Warner Chilcutt agreed to pay Barr $20 million to not market the generic version of Ovcon, to keep it off the market," John Fougere from the Attorney General's office said.

The difference between Ovcon and the suppressed generic counterpart is similar to the difference between Motrin and a generic Ibuprofin. Both contain the same active ingredients, but one costs less.

"The consumer suffers basically because they continue to pay a brand name price which sometimes can be, on average is probably twice as much as a generic," Morrissey said.

This isn't the first time Barr has been sued for colluding with other drug companies. In 2001, Barr was accused of making an agreement with Bayer not to market a generic version of the antibiotic Cipro. In 2002, the company agreed with Astra-Zeneca to keep a generic version of the cancer treatment Tamoxifen off the shelves.

The settlement means the company must pay more than $150 million to Missouri. It also means customers have another option.

"If they have a pharmacy that talks with them and lets them know what some of those options are they could come out with the same result and save a lot of money, too," Morissey said.

The Attorney General will use the settlement money to fund future consumer protection actions.

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