Settlement Preserves Competition between Dramamine and Bonine
Pharmaceutical company Prestige Brands Holdings, Inc., the maker of Dramamine, has agreed to divest assets and marketing rights for the over-the-counter motion sickness drug Bonine to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that Prestige’s proposed acquisition of Insight Pharmaceuticals Corporation would likely be anticompetitive. The FTC’s proposed settlement with Prestige requires the company to divest Bonine to Wellspring Pharmaceuticals within 10 days after the acquisition takes place.
Based in Sarasota, Florida, Wellspring produces a range of over-the-counter medications and markets them in the United States and Canada. Prestige proposed to acquire Insight for $750 million, under an agreement dated April 25, 2014.
According to the FTC’s complaint, Prestige’s Dramamine, which is the best-selling branded product in the market for over-the-counter motion-sickness drugs, and Insight’s Bonine, are the only two branded products with significant sales. Absent a remedy, the acquisition would eliminate the close competition between Dramamine and Bonine, likely leading to higher prices for consumers.
The Commission vote to accept the proposed consent order for public comment was 5-0. The proposed settlement is part of the Commission’s ongoing effort to protect U.S. consumers from higher healthcare-related costs.
The FTC will publish the consent agreement package in the Federal Register shortly. The agreement will be subject to public comment for 30 days, beginning today and continuing through September 29, 2014, after which the Commission will decide whether to make the proposed consent order final. Interested parties can submit written comments electronically or in paper form by following the instructions in the “Supplementary Information” section of the Federal Register notice.
NOTE: The Commission issues an administrative complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. When the Commission issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries the force of law with respect to future actions. Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of up to $16,000 per day.