FTC Forces Akorn to Sell Marketing Rights to Five Drugs Over Acquisition of Hi-Tech Pharmacal
Akorn Enterprises, or its new subsidiary Hi-Tech Pharmacal, was required to sell the marketing rights for five generic drugs to Watson Laboratories to settle federal charges that Akorn’s acquisition of Hi-Tech was anticompetitive, the FTC said.
The agency said June 20 that without such a transfer of assets, the acquisition “would lead to higher prices for consumers in several current and future generic drug markets.” Akorn’s $640 million deal last August to buy ophthalmic and generic injectable drugmaker Hi-Tech included 56 generic products.
The five drugs that must be transferred to Watson are:
- Generic Ciloxan drops (ciprofloxacin hydrochloride), drops used to treat bacterial eye infections and corneal ulcers. The acquisition would have reduced competition in this market from four to three players, the FTC said.
- Generic Quixin drops (levofloxacin), drops that treat bacterial eye infections. The deal would have reduced market competitors from three to two.
- Generic Xylocaine jelly (lidocaine hydrochloride), an anesthetic applied topically. The deal would reduce the market from three to two competitors.
- Generic EMLA cream (lidocaine; prilocaine), another anesthetic applied topically. Akorn would have controlled more than 70 percent of the U.S. market under the acquisition, reducing the number of competitors from four to three.
- Generic Ilotycin ointment (erythromycin), prescribed for bacterial eye infections. The drug now is sold by three firms in the U.S., and Hi-Tech was expected soon to become the fourth. Akorn’s acquisition of Hi-Tech’s rights “would deprive consumers of the benefits of future competition that would come with Hi-Tech’s entry into this highly concentrated market,” the FTC said.
The agency gave Akorn and Hi-Tech 10 days from the order’s June 16 finalization, or the completion of the acquisition, to sell the rights.
The company called the FTC’s most recent announcement a formality. —Robert King
Originally appeared in Drug Industry Daily, the pharmaceutical industry’s number one source for regulatory news and information. Click here for more information.