August 21, 2017

The Third Circuit on Monday handed a sweeping victory to buyers of cholesterol drug Lipitor and antidepressant drug Effexor XR, reviving their antitrust claims for alleged patent fraud and anti-competitive reverse payment schemes.

The decision entirely reinstates the suit against Pfizerand generic-drug maker Ranbaxy over Lipitor, which had been dismissed entirely, and gives new life to claims against Pfizer unit Wyeth and Teva Pharmaceuticals for Effexor, which had been dismissed in part. (AP)

The suits, the appellate panel found in the multidistrict litigation, plausibly alleged various ploys to artificially inflate the costs of the two drugs to make it past the dismissal stage. The decision entirely reinstates the suit against Pfizer and generic-drug maker Ranbaxy over Lipitor, which had been dismissed entirely, and gives new life to claims against Pfizer unit Wyeth and Teva Pharmaceuticals for Effexor, which had been dismissed in part.

“We are asked to decide whether those allegations are plausible,” the court said. “We conclude, as to both sets of appeals, that they are.”

The consolidated appeal involves a number of claims spanning several drugs and drug companies, with billions of dollars in sales on the line. Pfizer is accused of fraudulently procuring and enforcing a Lipitor patent and of an illegal reverse payment to generic-drug maker Ranbaxy to keep a generic off the market; Wyeth is accused of patent fraud for Effexor XR and of an illegal reverse payment to Teva. 

The full article can be read here.