|Abbott accused of resisting generics of TriCor to enter the market. Source: Humana|
Eighteen states have filed an antitrust lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories, stating that the pharmaceutical company blocked generic competition for its popular cholesterol medicine TriCor.
According to the suit, which also named the French company Laboratoires Fournier, the companies continuously tweaked the TriCor formula to keep generic versions off the market. It also claimed that the companies deceived the U.S. Patent Office with misleading data.
The plaintiffs “seek injunctive relief, penalties, damages, disgorgement and restitution for the defendants’ unlawful monopolization of the fenofibrate market,” according to the suit.
In response, Abbott said it has not kept TriCor copycats off the market; in fact, there are eight competing products. A Fournier rep said it intends to defend itself against the charges.
TriCor, which is used to reduce high levels of triglycerides and cholesterol, accounted for more than $1 billion of Abbott’s sales last year. The complaint, which was filed in federal court in Delaware, seeks triple the amount of damages incurred by the state’s public health agencies and individual consumers.
“As Florida and our senior population face ever increasing costs of prescription drugs, we cannot permit drug companies to edge out competition and potentially less expensive generic alternatives,” said Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum.