King Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Alpharma Inc., In the Matter of

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In the Matter of King Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a corporation, and Alpharma Inc., a corporation
FTC Matter/File Number:

081 0240

Enforcement Type:

Part 2 Consents

Case Summary

In late 2008, the Commission issued a consent order to restore competition in the market for oral long-acting opioids (LAOs). The FTC intervened in King Pharmaceutical’s proposed $1.6 billion acquisition of rival drug-maker Alpharma Inc. because the transaction would have joined the two leading producers of morphine sulfate oral LAO’s in the United States, a market which was already highly concentrated and which had annual sales of $4 billion in 2007. In order to maintain competition in the market, the Commission’s consent order requires King to divest its Kadian business to Actavis, a company which already manufactured the drug for King, and which could then produce a generic equivalent of the drug sooner than would have been permitted under King’s patent, which would not have expired until 2010.