FTC Sues Shire ViroPharma For Maintaining Antibiotic Monopoly
The United States Federal Trade Commission filed a civil action lawsuit against Shire ViroPharma for deliberately delaying generic competition of its branded antibiotic capsules to fight infection in the intestine. In the complaint filed Tuesday, Feb. 7, FTC accused the company try to avoid competition.
In its press release, FTC said that the company, Shire ViroPharma Inc., has violated the antitrust laws by delaying the generic drugs for its branded prescription capsules Vancocin HCl. In the lawsuit, FTC claimed that the customers have to pay hundreds of millions of dollars more for their medication because of the unavailability of the generic version.
FTC Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen said that the agency target the company for creating harm to competition and customers
“The Commission’s action today is another example of this ongoing commitment,” Ohlhausen said. “Generic medications can save consumers millions of dollars.”
She also insisted that by delaying vancomicyn the generic of its trademark Vancocin, ViroPharma abused government’s process to provide affordable antibiotic used to treat the life-threatening bacterial infection. The company is accused of unlawfully triying to maintain monopoly.
ViroPharma’s method to delay the competition as reported by Reuters is by filing the repeated and unsupported filings to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The filings was submitted in six years from 2006 to 2012 to delay the approval of Vacomycin.
Vancocin is the trade mark of vancomycin hydrochloride, an oral which used to treat gastrointernal infection caused by C.difficile bacteria. The bacterial infection will cause a bloody and watery diarrhea which in many cases are life-threatening. It can also be used to treat staph infection that cause inflammation in colon and small intestines.
The antibiotics was developed by researchers in Eli Lily Company in 1953 and went to market since 1958. In 2004, Eli Lily sold the license to three companies in U.S., U.K. and Australia, ViroPharma, Flynn Pharma and Aspen Pharmacare respectively. Since then ViroPharma has enjoyed the monopoly of the antibiotic in the U.S., while in other countries the generic vancomycin are already available.
Watch the illustrative explanation of vancomycin as the antibiotic to combat gastrointernal bacterial infection below: