Senators Ask FTC To Examine Biosimilar Patent Settlements For Antitrust Violations

United States Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) recently sent a letter to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Joseph Simons urging the “FTC to examine global patent settlements relating to biosimilars to ensure they are not in violation of antitrust laws.”  According to the Senators, “biologics constitute a substantial and increasing portion of our nation’s healthcare costs” and “[w]ithout biosimilar competition, U.S. patients and payers will likely see additional price increases on biologics in the years to come.”  The letter notes that “pay for delay” settlements have been estimated to cost consumers $3.5 billion per year.  The letter states that the FTC has filed lawsuits and worked with Congress to stop pay-for-delay settlements, and the Senators indicated that they “would like to continue those efforts to combat these agreements and explore their impact on the biologic market.”  The Senators identified AbbVie’s global adalimumab settlements with Amgen and Samsung as examples of deals that could cost the U.S. consumer, in that the biosimilars can be launched in Europe in October 2018, but won’t be launched in the U.S. until 2023.