Dept. of Justice to probe Plavix settlement

FBI agents raided the office of Bristol-Myers Squibb CEO Peter Dolan late last week as part of a criminal probe into the deal the company struck to stave off generic competition for its top-selling Rx drug product, the blood thinner Plavix. The probe concerns a settlement reached in March between Bristol, Plavix marketing partner Sanofi-Aventis and the generic drugmaker Apotex. Under the deal, Apotex, which received FDA approval to market a generic version of Plavix in March, said it would not begin selling its copycat version of the drug until 2011. The deal last week failed to receive required antitrust clearance from the US state attorneys general. Plavix accounts for 30% of Bristol's profits with global sales of over $5 billion, making it one of the world’s top three best-selling prescription drugs.