FTC: Akorn Must Unload Generic Rifampin to Acquire VersaPharm

August 8, 2014

Generics manufacturer Akorn must sell its rights to a pending ANDA for the tuberculosis drug rifampin before it can complete its $324 million acquisition of VersaPharm, the Federal Trade Commission said.

The divesture is necessary to prevent anticompetitive effects from the merger, the FTC said in response to Akorn’s proposed consent agreement. Rights to the rifampin ANDA will go to Actavis subsidiary Watson Laboratories, with the sale taking place within 10 days of completing the acquisition, the agency added.

In its complaint, the FTC noted that VersaPharm is one of only three firms marketing generic rifampin, and that few other drugmakers have rifampin ANDAs pending before the FDA. A merger between Akorn and VersaPharm, while Akorn is still pursuing the drug, would diminish competition and keep prices higher than they otherwise would be with a fourth, independent generic on the market, the FTC said.

Rifampin is a generic version of Sanofi’s Rifadin, a first-line injectable prescribed to kill or prevent the growth of tuberculosis.

The product is not the first one Akorn has faced divestiture over in recent months due to mergers and acquisitions. In June, the FTC finalized anticompetitive charges against Akorn that required the company to sell its rights to five generic drugs to Watson to prevent anticompetitive effects from a $640 million purchase of Hi-Tech Pharmacal.

The FTC is accepting comments on the proposed consent agreement through Sept. 3. — Bryan Koenig

Originally appeared in Drug Industry Daily, the pharmaceutical industry’s number one source for regulatory news and information. Click here for more information.