Officials with Actavis and Warner Chilcott were not immediately available for comment. The settlement will be subject to public comment for 30 days before final approval.
Federal officials have made access to contraceptives and competition among generic drug-makers high priority topics in recent years.
HHS announced in February that approved contraceptives would be among the essential health benefits that are required to be covered by most insurance plans without cost-sharing for preventive healthcare. That means contraceptives approved by the Food and Drug Administration cannot be subject to copayments, and women in most plans will not have to pay anything out of pocket for them once they have met their annual deductibles.
Also, the FTC has aggressively battled Actavis in court over the company's decision not to sell a generic version of testosterone-replacement therapy AndroGel. FTC lawyers say Actavis was close to winning a lawsuit that would have given it the legal right to sell a generic version when it agreed to accept payments from AndroGel's maker, Abbott Laboratories subsidiary Solvay Pharmaceuticals, that required it to delay the drug launch.
The pharmaceutical companies said the FTC had no right to challenge their decision to settle drug-patent litigation, but in June the Supreme Court disagreed and said the agency does have jurisdiction in “pay for delay” cases. The agency is now litigating the merits of its case in district court.
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