WHAT’S THE ISSUE?
Hagens Berman represents a proposed class of health benefit providers, including non-profit health insurance organizations, in a class-action lawsuit accusing Bristol Myers and Celgene of unlawfully extending a monopoly in the market for pomalidomide. The blockbuster $2.25 billion a year drug is used to treat multiple myeloma and sold under the brand name, Pomalyst. The lawsuit states purchasers of the drug have overpaid, and continue to overpay, for pomalidomide by many hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars.
ABOUT THE POMALIDOMIDE MONOPOLY
Attorneys say Celgene accomplished the alleged monopolistic scheme through a multipronged approach including:
- a pattern of fraud on the U.S. patent office,
- abuse of the federal judicial system,
- and sharing some of its illicitly acquired, supra-competitive profits with would-be generic competitors to have those generics further delay bona fide generic competition.
According to the complaint, had the alleged fraud not occurred, the patents would not have issued, and generic pomalidomide would have been available sooner, saving consumers and health benefit providers billions of dollars. Celgene’s alleged scheme to interfere with generic companies’ attempt to gain market entry was coupled with payments cloaked under an effort at absolute secrecy, according to the complaint.
DEFENDANTS’ ALLEGED SCHEME EXPLAINED
According to the complaint, Celgene’s alleged fraud on the U.S. patent office involved acquiring two series of pomalidomide patents through misrepresentations and concealment from Patent and Trade Office examiners regarding information already in the public domain concerning pomalidomide’s properties, formulations and potential uses.
Celgene also allegedly abused the federal judicial system by filing a series of sham lawsuits, using the fraudulent series of patents, along with inapplicable polymorph patents, against the generic companies that sought to enter the U.S. market for pomalidomide. In reality, according to the complaint, Celgene had no realistic likelihood of prevailing since full factual disclosure during federal litigation would show the patents to be invalid and/or non-infringed.
In its reverse payments to would-be competitors, Celgene and Bristol Myers allegedly paid off at least several of the first-to-file generic companies — including Aurobindo, Breckenridge, Eugia, Natco, and Teva — to have each discontinue its challenge to the pomalidomide patents and delay their entry into the U.S. market. Each payment made vastly exceeds the net revenues any one of the generic companies could hope to earn even if it had prevailed in the patent litigation, according to the complaint.
PURCHASERS’ RIGHTS IN A CLASS-ACTION LAWSUIT
Hagens Berman’s class-action lawsuit seeks damages and interest related to Celgene’s alleged monopoly and wider conspiracy to restrain trade for Pomalyst and its generic equivalents, as well as injunctive relief to end defendants’ unlawful conduct. The complaint brings claims of unlawful monopolization, restraint of trade, unjust enrichment, as well as violations of state consumer protection laws, as well as violations of federal antitrust law.
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, including those against Big Pharma’s largest sellers and manufacturers for antitrust schemes, pay-for-delay, IP shams and other forms of wrongdoing that illegally inflate prescription drug costs for life-saving prescriptions.