Puerto rico government

State Price-fixing Case Against Generic Pharma Companies Reduced

Pfizer/Handout via REUTERS

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  • US judge rules out disgorgement of profits as remedy
  • The Court will allow states to seek an injunction

(Reuters) – A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Tuesday limited the scope of an antitrust case brought by dozens of states against generic drug makers, ruling that New York, California, Connecticut and other plaintiffs do not were not allowed to pursue ill-gotten gains as punishment.

U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe order said “restitution” of profits derived from alleged illegal conduct was not an available remedy under federal antitrust law under the Clayton Act.

The 49 plaintiffs, including Washington, DC and Puerto Rico, are suing more than a dozen pharmaceutical companies alleging a conspiracy to restrict competition in the market for 15 generic drugs used to treat glaucoma, high blood pressure, asthma and other conditions. An amended complaint was filed in 2018.

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The defendants include Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc, the drugmaker that is now Viatris Inc; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc; By Pharmaceutical Cos Inc; and Sandoz Inc. Defendants and others have denied liability.

Pharmaceutical companies asked Rufe to dismiss the states’ restitution claim and all federal claims on the basis that the plaintiffs lacked standing to pursue their case. Defense attorneys had argued that the states “did not allege sufficient facts” to seek relief under federal antitrust law on behalf of their citizens.

Rufe rejected the companies’ offer to deny the states’ request for an injunction preventing the drugmakers from “continuing their unlawful conduct.”

The states alleged that the defendant pharmaceutical companies engaged in anti-competitive practices that increased the price of drugs and limited their availability.

On Wednesday, representatives of the companies and their lawyers did not comment or immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Defense liaison attorney Chul Pak, antitrust partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

A spokesperson for the Connecticut attorney general’s office said Rufe’s decision only applies to federal refund claims and not to state law claims seeking damages, reimbursement and other repairs. “Our case is strong and this decision does not affect any of these claims,” Elizabeth Benton said.

The States case is part of a larger multidistrict antitrust action.

A status conference is scheduled for litigation in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on Thursday.

The case is In re Generic Pharmaceutical Pricing Antitrust Litigation, US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, MDL No. 2724.

Read more:

California ordered to pay $80,000 penalty in drug antitrust MDL

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