Court Revives Effexor XR and Lipitor Antitrust Claims
The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit revived plaintiffs’ antitrust claims over alleged patent fraud and anti-competitive reverse payment schemes in a consolidated appeal on Monday, August 21, 2017.
The decision entirely reinstates the suit (In re: Lipitor Antitrust Litigation) against Pfizer and generic drug manufacturer Ranbaxy over the cholesterol drug Lipitor, which had previously been dismissed.
The Third Circuit’s decision also revived claims (In re: Effexor XR Antitrust Litigation) against Pfizer division Wyeth and Teva Pharmaceuticals, which had been partially dismissed.
The consolidated appeal involved multiple claims spanning across several drug companies and drugs. Wyeth is accused of patent fraud for Effexor XR, as well as illegal reverse payments to Teva, the manufacturer of Effexor XR’s generic version. Pfizer is accused of fraudulently obtaining and enforcing a patent on Lipitor, as well as making illegal reverse payments to Ranbaxy in order to keep a generic version of the drug off the market.
In the Effexor XR antitrust suit, drug buyers allege that Wyeth agreed not to compete with its own authorized generic version of Effexor XR following a litigation settlement over generic Effexor XR in 2005. In exchange, Teva agreed to pay royalties and delay its entry to the market until 2010.
Buyers in the Lipitor case allege that Pfizer used an anti-competitive lawsuit settlement in 2008 to keep a generic version of Lipitor off the market. Ranbaxy agreed to delay its generic Lipitor until 2011 in exchange for Pfizer dropping its lawsuit against Ranbaxy’s blood pressure medication Accupril.
The drug buyers in both suits are represented by multiple firms, including Wexler Wallace LLP.