Hagens Berman filed a class-action complaint on behalf of a group of direct purchasers of the brand drug Copaxone alleging Teva Pharmaceutical entities unlawfully suppressed generic competition.
ABOUT THE LAWSUIT VS. TEVA
The lawsuit accuses Teva entities of suppressing generic competition for Copaxone by entering into exclusionary contracts with pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) and specialty pharmacies that barred generic Copaxone. The lawsuit accuses Teva of engaging in a coercive product switch to thwart generic competition and pursuing an aggressive “Dispense as Written” campaign fueled by misinformation about generic Copaxone. Attorneys say Teva also paid illegal kickbacks and otherwise manipulating patient copays to boost sales of brand Copaxone.
The complaint alleges that as a result of Teva’s anticompetitive scheme, plaintiffs were forced to purchase more costly brand Copaxone instead of lower-priced generic versions, causing plaintiffs to suffer overcharges on their purchases.
ALLEGATIONS AGAINST TEVA PHARMACEUTICAL ENTITIES
Hagen Berman, on behalf of the plaintiffs, FWK Holdings LLC, KPH Healthcare Services Inc., d/b/a Kinney Drugs Inc., Meijer Inc., Meijer Distribution Inc. and other similarly situated direct purchaser plaintiffs, filed a class action against Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd., Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., Teva Neuroscience Inc. and Teva Sales & Marketing Inc. (collectively, “Teva” or “the defendants”). The complaint alleges that Teva unlawfully suppressed generic competition for Copaxone a drug prescribed for multiple sclerosis.
The lawsuit alleges that as revealed in an August 2020 lawsuit filed against Teva by the Department of Justice, it engaged in multi-part scheme to stymie generic competition. The DOJ’s case alleges violations of the federal Anti-Kickback statute, and cites a September 2020 report by the Committee on Oversight and Reform of the U.S. House of Representatives.
HOW TEVA STIFLED COMPETITION
First, the direct purchasers allege, in anticipation of 20mg generic versions of Copaxone coming to market in June 2015, Teva launched a 40mg dose and implemented a coercive product switch from the 20mg product to the 40mg product for which Teva did not face generic competition.
According to the lawsuit, Teva also entered into exclusionary contracts with PBMs, in which the PBMs agreed to exclude generic Copaxone from their formularies. Teva also contracted with specialty pharmacies that they would only dispense the brand product, even if a generic had been prescribed.
The direct purchasers alleged that in 2017, as generics prepared to enter the market with generic 40mg Copaxone, Teva implemented a “Dispense as Written” campaign to prevent the generic substitution that normally would occur in the marketplace when generics became available. As a part of that campaign, and without any scientific basis, Teva persuaded prescribers that generic Copaxone was less effective than the brand product. That campaign was so successful, six months following generic entry, 77% of Copaxone 40mg prescriptions were annotated with a “Dispense as Written” notation, thereby preventing generic substitution. By the following year, that percentage had climbed to 84%.
According to the complaint, Teva also devised a scheme in which it paid millions of dollars ostensibly in the form of a “donation” to a charitable foundation. The “donation” was used to subsidize out-of-pocket expenses incurred by patients to purchase brand Copaxone only. That subsidy served to increase sales of the brand product at the expense of generics, a violation of federal anti-kickback statute.
The direct purchasers have pleaded that Teva’s various schemes served to drive up brand Copaxone sales, and to suppress generic competition at the expense of patients and other purchasers.
TOP PHARMA LAW FIRM
Hagens Berman is one of the most successful litigation law firms in the U.S. taking on pharmaceutical companies and has achieved more than $320 billion in settlements against Big Pharma largest sellers and manufacturers for antitrust schemes, pay-for-delay, IP shams and other forms of wrongdoing that drive up the costs of prescription drugs for consumers and others.
Plaintiffs filed oppositions to Teva’s motions to dismiss.
The matter was reassigned to the Honorable Evelyn Padin.
Defendants filed motions to dismiss all the actions.
The Honorable Julien Xavier Neals, entered an order coordinating the direct purchaser class action and the third-party payor class action for discovery and pre-trial purposes.
Hagens Berman filed a class-action lawsuit in the District of New Jersey on behalf of direct purchaser plaintiffs, alleging that Teva entities delayed generic competition for multiple sclerosis drug, Copaxone. Third-party payors filed complaints in the same court, based on similar facts alleged in Hagens Berman’s complaint.