AbbVie hit with class-action lawsuit over its 'patent estate' to protect Humira

A class action lawsuit was filed against AbbVie for allegedly using patent thickets and colluding with biosimilar drugmakers to maintain monopoly for its blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira, according to The Center for Biosimilars.

The complaint was filed on behalf of a New York grocery-worker union United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500, which claims that members of the union paid artificially high prices for brand-name Humira because they were deprived of biosimilar competition that arose from wrongful conduct

The lawsuit alleges that AbbVie created a "patent estate" for Humira that was "designed solely to insulate Humira from any biosimilar competition in the U.S. for years to come."

AbbVie has about 100 patents for Humira, many of which overlap.

The suit also claims that AbbVie entered into illegal agreements with biosimilar manufacturers, including Amgen, Samsung Bioepis, Mylan, Sandoz, Fresenius Kabi, Pfizer and Momenta, to thwart production of a Humira biosimilar. All seven biosimilar manufacturers were named as defendants in the complaint.

"With this lawsuit, AbbVie will have to open the doors to competition and compensate those who have paid exorbitant prices for their medication. AbbVie’s unlawful scheme to keep out biosimilar competition has cost the healthcare system billions of dollars," Gregory Asciolla, an attorney at Labaton Sucharow, which is representing the union, told The Center for Biosimilars.

A Pfizer spokesperson said the company stands by their patent settlement with AbbVie and "the lawsuit is without merit."

Read the full report here.


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