Hagens Berman is one of three court-appointed co-lead law firms selected to lead a nationwide class-action lawsuit against drug manufacturers AbbVie, Amgen, Samsung Bioepis, and Sandoz for violating federal antitrust laws, The suit accuses defendants of delaying lower-priced biosimilar competitors and causing drug purchasers to overpay for prescriptions of the arthritis drug Humira.

Case Status
Case Caption
Interim Co-Lead Counsel
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
Case Number
1:19-cv-01933; 20-2402
AbbVie Inc.
AbbVie Biotechnology LTD.
Amgen Inc.
File Date


AbbVie’s drug Humira has been the best-selling drug in the United States for six years, bringing in more than $13.6 billion in U.S. sales in 2018 alone and nearly $20 billion worldwide.

The original patent on Humira expired in late 2016. Under normal circumstances, this would have led to competition for Humira prescriptions from manufacturers of lower cost biosimilar drugs, but AbbVie resorted to illegal means to prolong its monopoly over Humira, delaying biosimilar competitors and keeping its revenue source from running dry.

Hagens Berman alleges that to protect itself from biosimilar competition, AbbVie created what its executive call an “absolute minefield of IP” – also referred to as a patent thicket – to snare and mire down any potential competitors. AbbVie sought and obtained more than 100 patents – many with clear deficiencies and unable to withstand court scrutiny – to discourage competitors, bogging them down in costly and time-consuming litigation over dozens upon dozens of patents before they could launch competing products.

The plaintiffs allege that AbbVie also paid potential competitors to delay entry. At least three potential competitors entered into deals with AbbVie, agreeing to delay the entry of their cheaper products until various dates in 2023. In exchange for their delay in the United States, AbbVie agreed to give its competitors access to the European market almost immediately. By dividing the American and European markets in this way, AbbVie preserved for itself billions of dollars in revenue in the more-profitable U.S. market.

The lawsuit's named plaintiffs are the city of Baltimore; the Fraternal Order of Police, Miami Lodge 20, Insurance Trust Fund; Pipe Trades Services MN Welfare Fund; Locals 302 & 612 of the International Union of Operating Engineers Employers Construction Industry Health and Security Trust Fund; and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana.


The pay-for-delay deal between AbbVie and its competitors was anticompetitive and unlawful. The lawsuit seeks reimbursement for overcharges for Humira prescriptions that entities paid due to the defendants’ unlawful, anticompetitive conduct.

The lawsuit also seeks to stop the defendants’ unlawful conduct in delaying biosimilar competition for Humira until 2023. Attorneys are also fighting for plaintiffs’ rights to damages on behalf of all entities in the following states who indirectly purchased, paid and/or provided reimbursement for some or all of the purchase price of Humira, other than for resale, from Dec. 31, 2016 through the present: Alaska, Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia. 


Plaintiffs filed an appeal of this decision, with amicus curiae support from 20 state attorneys general and 66 law, economics, business and medical professors, among others. The appeal is pending.

On June 8, 2020, the district court dismissed the plaintiffs’ complaint. The court found that the plaintiffs’ allegations against AbbVie do not constitute antitrust violations.

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