The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500 Welfare Fund has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Johnson and Johnson in Pennsylvania’s Eastern District Court. The suit takes aim at the drug maker over its blockbuster innovator infliximab, Remicade.
The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500 Welfare Fund has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson in Pennsylvania’s Eastern District Court. The suit takes aim at the drug maker over its blockbuster innovator infliximab, Remicade.
The Pharma Letter reports that the union’s benefits fund has alleged anti-competitive behavior on Johnson & Johnson’s part. The complaint claims that the drug manufacturer has engaged in exclusionary contracting that is designed to maintain a monopoly on the US infliximab marketplace. The union, which represents grocery workers in the state of New York, seeks a jury trial over the drug maker’s contracting, rebate policies, and product bundling that it alleges are designed to block insurers from reimbursing for either of the 2 available biosimilar infliximab products, Inflectra and Renflexis.
The union is the second entity to challenge the reference drug sponsor in recent days; in September, Pfizer, maker of Inflectra, filed a district court lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Pfizer alleged that Johnson & Johnson has effectively denied patients access to biosimilar therapies by threatening to withhold rebates from insurers unless they agree to exclude biosimilars from their formularies. The suit claims that as many as 70% of patients who have commercial insurance coverage are unable to gain access to Inflectra due to the drug maker’s conduct.
Johnson & Johnson said in a statement concerning the Pfizer case that “Competition is doing what competition is meant to do: driving deeper discounts that will lead to overall lower costs for infliximab, including [Remicade]. We stand by our contracts.” The reference infliximab sponsor added that “Rather than demonstrating value and working to win the trust of physicians and patients, Pfizer is asking the court to protect it from having to compete.”
Additionally, the company highlighted the fact biosimilars are not generics, and not identical to reference products. It suggested that, instead, Pfizer’s Inflectra is a new medicine that has not yet proven itself before physicians, payers, or patients.