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Drug Patent Settlements Increasing: FTC

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Patent settlements between brand name and generic drug makers that cost U.S. consumers $3.5 billion a year are on the rise, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

The number of "pay-to-delay" settlements increased to 19 in 2009, from 16 in 2008 and 14 in 2007, said the agency, the Associated Press reported. In these settlements, a brand name drug maker pays a generic competitor to keep its cheaper version of a drug off the market.

The FTC wants a ban on such settlements included in the health care reform bill being negotiated by Congress, the AP reported.

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