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US federal judge dismisses FTC case against Shire unit

A U.S. federal judge tossed out the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's antitrust lawsuit seeking an injunction against a Shire Plc unit.

U.S. District Judge Richard Andrews said the regulator failed to show Shire ViroPharma Inc. was about to violate a law, a prerequisite for the injunction in this case.

The FTC accused ViroPharma of anti-competitive conduct for seeking to delay the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval of a generic version of Vancocin HCl capsules, used to treat bacterial infections in the gastrointestinal tract.

According to the FTC's complaint, ViroPharma submitted 43 filings with the FDA and filed three lawsuits against the U.S. drug agency between 2006 and 2012, which delayed the approval of a cheaper alternative to the medicine.

"I do not think these allegations, without more, plausibly suggest ViroPharma is 'about to violate' any law enforced by the FTC, particularly when the alleged misconduct ceased almost five years before filing of the complaint," the judge said.

Shire acquired ViroPharma in 2014 and had argued that the alleged conduct had occurred in the past.