The Class Action Complaint against AbbVie, Inc. (“AbbVie”); Allergan, Inc., Allergan Sales, LLC, and Allergan USA, Inc. (collectively, “Allergan”); and Forest Laboratories, Inc., Forest Laboratories Holdings, Ltd., Forest Laboratories, LLC, and Forest Laboratories Ireland Ltd. (collectively, “Forest”) (together with AbbVie and Allergan, “Defendants”) alleges that the Defendants’ violated of federal and state antitrust, consumer protection and unjust enrichment laws concerning the pharmaceutical drug Bystolic® (nebivolol hydrochloride) (“Bystolic”).
Specifically, it is alleged that the Defendants’ unlawfully excluded generic substitutes for the branded drug Bystolic, an important cardiovascular prescription drug used to treat high blood pressure. It is commonly referred to as a “beta blocker” or a beta-adrenergic blocking agent that reduces blood pressure. Beta-blockers block hormone epinephrine (adrenaline) and cause the heart to beat more slowly with less force, thereby lowering blood pressure. It is alleged that Defendant Forest and its successors-in-interest manufacture, market and sell the branded version of Bystolic, which is a “blockbuster” prescription drug with annual U.S. sales exceeding $1 billion. Potential new generic market entrants filed Abbreviated New Drug Applications (“ANDA”) with the United States Food and Drug Administration (the “FDA”) to manufacture, market and sell generic versions of Bystolic on December 17, 2011. Despite these ANDAs filed nearly nine years ago, no generic competitor has or will enter the market until September 17, 2021. Generic drugs typically cost 50% less than the branded product and capture 80% or more market share of the branded product within the first six to nine months upon entry. To avoid or delay loss of market share and pricing, Defendant Forest entered into a series of unlawful reverse-payment agreements with potential generic competitors, to not compete or enter the market prior to September 17, 2021 and filed patent infringement actions against the generic companies that Filed ANDA applications accusing them of allegedly infringing on their relevant patent. It is further alleged that the Generic Competitors would have won and launched their generic form of the drug but rather than risk facing competition from the Generic Competitors as early as June 2015 and the subsequent reduction in Bystolic brand sales and revenues, Defendants entered into a prototypical “reverse-payment agreement” with the generics by sharing monopoly profits with them to induce them to stay out of the market until September 21, 2021. The result: the pharmaceutical companies won and health insurers and consumers, the intended victims of the anticompetitive scheme, were the biggest financial losers. As a direct and proximate result of Defendants’ conduct, Plaintiff and other class members have been injured in their business and property because they would have been able to purchase less expensive generic Bystolic instead of branded Bystolic at artificially inflated prices.
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