Celebrex Antitrust Litigation
Court: United States District Court, Eastern District of Virginia
Case No.: 14-cv-0395
Leadership Position: Co-Lead Class Counsel
In July 2014, Wexler Wallace LLP filed a class action case on behalf of end-payors (i.e., consumers and third-party payors, such as insurers and health benefit welfare funds) alleging that defendants (Pfizer and its subsidiaries) unlawfully suppressed generic competition for the blockbuster drug Celebrex. The United States Court of Appeals ruled in 2008 that the patent was invalid and not patentably distinct from previous Pfizer patents that covered the celecoxib compound – the active ingredient in Celebrex used to treat inflammation-related disorders.
The complaint further alleges that defendants violated state antitrust laws and state common laws of unjust enrichment by strategically manipulating the patent review and judicial process. In light of the appellate ruling invalidating its Celebrex patent, defendants sought to “correct” their previous patent submission and spent the next four years bombarding the Patent & Trademark Office with “false information, defective arguments, and voluminous irrelevant materials.” In 2013, in the face of defendants’ alleged fraudulent submissions, the PTO reissued the patent ostensibly covering Celebrex. Plaintiffs allege that because of defendants’ conduct they have paid supracompetitive prices for brand name Celebrex – prices they would not have paid had a generic entered the market.
For a copy of the most recent complaint, click here.