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February 26, 2008

Little Rock, AR - Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced the settlement of a lawsuit against the drug company, Barr Pharmaceuticals. The lawsuit, joined by thirty-three other states, and the District of Columbia, alleged that Barr Pharmaceuticals and Warner Chilcott violated state and federal antitrust laws by taking steps that prevented generic versions of Ovcon®, a prescription oral contraceptive, from reaching the marketplace. Attorney General McDaniel and other states settled their lawsuit against Warner Chilcott in 2007 for $5.5 million.


"This is another significant victory for consumers," said Attorney General McDaniel. "I'm proud that the collective work of State Attorneys General has produced this result."


The civil complaint was filed in 2005 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The lawsuit alleges 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.


The Arkansas Attorney General's Office will receive $105,000 from this settlement. The settlement will also ensure that the companies do not engage in similar conduct in the future.