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From Antitrust Law Daily, March 6, 2015

Impax Laboratories settles FTC charges over CorePharma acquisition

By Linda O’Brien, J.D., LL.M.

Pharmaceutical companies Impax Laboratories Inc. and CorePharma, LLC have agreed to divest all of CorePharma’s rights and assets to generic pilocarpine tablets and generic ursodiol tablets, in order to settle FTC that Impax’s proposed $700 million acquisition of CorePharma would likely be anticompetitive, the agency announced today. 

In the FTC complaint (In re Impax Laboratories, Inc., File No. 151-0011), the FTC charged that there are currently only two suppliers in the market for generic pilocarpine tablets, and Impax and CorePharma are the only likely new entrants into this market in the near future. In the market for generic ursodiol tablets, there are currently four suppliers, including Impax. The market has recently experienced supply shortages, which can diminish competition among suppliers. CorePharma is one of a limited number of firms likely to enter the generic ursodiol market in the near future.

According to the FTC’s analysis to aid public comment, the acquisition as proposed would cause significant anticompetitive harm to consumers by eliminating future competition that would otherwise have occurred if Impax and CorePharma remain independent.

Perrigo Company plc, a global drug company headquartered in Ireland that markets generic drugs in the United States, will acquire the divested assets. Under the proposed settlement, Impax and CorePharma must also provide transitional services and take all actions that are necessary for Perrigo to obtain FDA approval to manufacture and market generic pilocarpine and ursodiol tablets.

Without the divestitures required by the proposed order, the FTC alleged that the acquisition would reduce the number of future suppliers in the markets for generic pilocarpine tablets, which are used to treat dry mouth, and generic ursodiol tablets, which are used to treat biliary cirrhosis, a chronic disease of the liver, as well as gall bladder diseases. CorePharma’s entry as an independent competitor would likely have resulted in significantly lower prices for each of these drugs

The Commission vote to issue the complaint and accept the proposed consent order for public comment was 5-0.

The FTC will publish the consent agreement package in the Federal Register shortly. The agreement will be subject to public comment through April 6, 2015. Interested parties can submit written comments electronically  or in paper form by following the instructions in the “Supplementary Information” section of the Federal Register notice.

Companies: Impax Laboratories, Inc., CorePharma, LLC

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