AstraZeneca loses lawsuit accusing it of monopolizing antipsychotic drug

A Dutch payer has won a lawsuit accusing AstraZeneca of creating an unfair monopoly on an antipsychotic drug by using a patent that had been invalidated to block generic competition, STAT reported. 

A Dutch court ruled that AstraZeneca charged health insurer Menzis "unjustifiably" high prices for its drug, Seroquel. The lawsuit, which was filed in 2018, says that AstraZeneca used a patent on the drug that had already been invalidated, blocking a large competitor from selling a generic version of Seroquel. 

"AstraZeneca’s enforcement action has prevented competing products from entering the market. If there had been (competing products), Menzis could have chosen one or more of the cheaper variants, and the amounts to be reimbursed to its policyholders would have been considerably lower," the court wrote in a statement announcing its decision, according to STAT.

The court ruled that AstraZeneca will have to pay an unspecified amount of damages. At the time the lawsuit was filed, Menzis sought more than $4.7 million in damages. 

An AstraZeneca spokesperson told STAT: "AstraZeneca has not acted unlawfully toward Menzis. That is the verdict in a court case Menzis filed in 2018. AstraZeneca is surprised that the judge has, nevertheless, ruled that Menzis is entitled to compensation. In the opinion of AstraZeneca, there is no basis for this in European and Dutch law. We are, therefore, considering further steps."

Read the full article here.

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