A group of direct buyers of the cholesterol drug Niaspan scored a victory on Wednesday when a Pennsylvania federal judge approved their bid to move forward as a class with a pay-for-delay antitrust suit against Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd. and AbbVie Inc.
U.S. District Judge Jan DuBois shot down various arguments the pharmaceutical giants had put forth in an effort to keep the case from going ahead as a class action, including their contention that the direct purchasers' cases should be joined instead.
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Teva and AbbVie are facing multidistrict litigation from groups of direct-purchaser and end-payor plaintiffs alleging settlement agreements between two predecessor companies now owned by AbbVie and Teva were designed to prevent generic versions of Niaspan from hitting the market.
Deals struck between brand manufacturer Kos Pharmaceuticals Inc. and competitor Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc. to end their patent dispute harmed competition and forced consumers to pay higher prices for Niaspan, according to the suits.
The case includes classes of direct and indirect purchasers and also includes claims by major pharmaceutical chains including Walgreen Co. and Rite Aid Corp.
The indirect purchasers are represented by Spector Roseman Kodroff & Willis PC, Motley Rice LLC, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC and Weller Wallace LLP, among others.
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