Actavis and Error Costs: A Reply to Critics
The Antitrust Source, October 2014
8 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2014 Last revised: 27 Oct 2014
Date Written: June 7, 2014
The Supreme Court’s opinion in Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis, Inc. provided fundamental guidance about how courts should handle antitrust challenges to reverse payment patent settlements. In our previous article, Activating Actavis, we identified and operationalized the essential features of the Court’s analysis. Our analysis has been challenged by four economists, who argue that our approach might condemn procompetitive settlements.
As we explain in this reply, such settlements are feasible, however, only under special circumstances. Moreover, even where feasible, the parties would not actually choose such a settlement in equilibrium. These considerations, and others discussed in the reply, serve to confirm the wisdom of the Actavis inference, in which the observation of a large reverse payment serves as a “surrogate” for patent-case weakness and therefore for lost competition.
Keywords: antitrust, drugs, FTC, Hatch-Waxman, innovation, patent, Paragraph IV, pay for delay, pharmaceuticals, regulation, reverse payment, settlement
JEL Classification: K21, L40, L41, L50
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation