The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a bill (S. 27) that aims to “prohibit brand name drug companies from compensating generic drug companies to delay the entry of a generic drug into the market.” Called the “Preserve Access to Affordable Generics Act,” the proposal would stop the practice of drug makers settling patent infringement claims with payments to generic manufacturers, a practice known as “pay for delay” deals.

While the bill has bipartisan support, it has previously died in the Senate and may not pass in the Republican-controlled House. It would give enforcement authority to the Federal Trade Commission and presume that an agreement settling a patent infringement claim in connection with the sale of a drug product has illegal anticompetitive effects, unless clear and convincing evidence shows that the “precompetitive benefits of the agreement outweigh” its anticompetitive effects. See The Hill, July 21, 2011.