Effexor XR Antitrust
On August 21, 2017, the Third Circuit reversed dismissal of the direct purchaser plaintiffs’ complaint, reviving the direct purchaser plaintiffs’ reverse-payment claims to continue. The Court found that the plaintiffs had plausibly alleged that Wyeth made a “large” and “unjustified” reverse payment in exchange for Teva’s promise to stall generic competition. The district court erred, the Third Circuit explained, by requiring the direct purchaser plaintiffs to plead a precise monetary value of the reverse payment, or to counter every potential defense to their antitrust claims without the benefit of discovery. The Court sent the case back to the district court for further proceedings.
Hagens Berman is co-lead counsel in an action against drug manufacturer Wyeth and generic manufacturer Teva. Plaintiffs allege that defendants delayed market entry of generic versions of Effexor XR by fraudulently procuring patents for Effexor XR, listing of those patents in the FDA Orange Book, and entering into reverse payment settlements with generic manufacturers. Plaintiffs allege that as a result of this wrongdoing, purchasers who needed to buy Effexor were forced to pay monopoly prices for the medication for longer than they should have.
“Direct purchasers paid significantly more for extended release venlafaxine hydrochloride capsules during this two year window (and continue to pay more for Effexor XR and its generic equivalents) than they would have in the absence of Wyeth’s illegal anti-competitive acts,” the complaint said. From June 2008 to June 2010, U.S. retail sales of Effexor XR topped $4.5 billion, according to the suit.
The suit was originally filed in May of 2011. In 2014, the district court dismissed plaintiffs’ reverse-payment claims, and entered final judgment as to that part of the suit. On appeal, the defendants sought unsuccessfully to transfer the cases away from the Third Circuit to the Federal Circuit.
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