Pay-for-Delay Lawsuit Alleges Scheme Against Generic Opana Painkiller

Audet & Partners, LLP reports that a lawsuit has been brought in an Illinois federal court on behalf of an employee trust fund alleging an illegal scheme to deprive the market of generic Opana ER, an extended-release painkiller.  The Pennsylnavia Employees Benefit Trust Fund has accused Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., and its subsidiary Penwest Pharmaceuticals Co., of orchestrating and implementing a strategy through which Endo essentially paid Impax Laboratories to delay for more than two years its introduction of generic Opana into the market.

The complaint in this pay-for-delay class action lawsuit has alleged violations of federal antitrust laws, including the Sherman Act.  This lawsuit comes on the heels of a similar pay-for-delay lawsuit brought earlier this year by the Wisconsin Masons’ Healthcare Fund and Rochester Drug Cooperative Inc.

Pay-for-delay lawsuits have increased in number in recent years as manufacturers have realized escalating profits from brand pharmaceuticals.  Companies have taken extraordinary measures to extend their monopolies on certain pharmaceuticals by engaging in agreements with generic manufacturers.  These agreement often provide that the generic manufacturer agrees to withhold the introduction of generic pharmaceuticals, which would disrupt the brand manufacturer’s monopoly, into the marketplace.  These pay-for-delay agreements often result in artificially inflated drug prices that often result in increased costs to large groups of consumers.

In the Endo lawsuit, it has been alleged that upon FDA approval of a generic version of the drug manufactured by Impax, Endo conceived of and implemented a deliberate strategy to block market introduction of generic Opana.  Endo initially brought a lawsuit against Impax and other generic manufacturers but ultimately entered into a settlement agreement that included anti-competitive provisions which effectively deprived the market of generic Opana.

Pay-for-delay lawsuits are usually brought by employee benefit funds who procure pharmaceuticals on behalf of a large number of members.  If you are part of an employee benefit fund and believe you may have paid artificially inflated prices for pharmaceuticals, you are urged to contact a pay-for-delay attorney at Audet & Partners, LLP for a free, confidential consultation either by calling (800) 965-1461, or by completing and submitting our inquiry form on the right side of this page.

 

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