On November 7, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced that it had issued notice letters to 10 life sciences companies regarding 100 patents that the FTC contends are improperly listed in the Orange Book, the FDA’s Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations. The announcement comes of the heels of the FTC’s policy statement warning drug companies that improper listing of patents in the Orange Book could violate Section 5 of the FTC Act. Pursuant to the FTC’s policy, the companies have 30 days to either withdraw or amend their listings or certify under penalty of perjury that the listings are proper.
The FTC believes that improper listings in the Orange Book could constitute an unfair method of competition under Section 5 of the FTC Act because a patent listed in the Orange Book could lead to a statutory stay that generally blocks the introduction of competing products for 30 months. According to the FTC, costs associated with challenging patents could frustrate innovation and/or market entry. The FTC has said that even a brief delay in generic entry harms consumers in the form of artificially high drug prices.
We will be watching how companies choose to respond to the recent notice letters and the policy’s impact on Orange Book listings and competition with respect to brand drugs going forward.