NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) — New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced a joint settlement Jan. 18 with four other attorneys general and the Federal Trade Commission with Mallinckrodt PLC and its U.S. subsidiary, formerly known as Questcor Pharmaceuticals (Questcor), a drug manufacturer.
According to allegations, Questcor attempted to bar competition for its drug H.P. Acthar gel. The company bought the rights to the drug, which treats certain life-threatening diseases, in 2001. Since 2001 Questcor has purportedly raised the price of the drug by 85,000 percent, from $40 per vial to more than $34,000. Additionally, the company outbid competitors in the purchase of Synacthen, a drug used to treat the same conditions.
The drug is sold in Europe and Canada at a fraction of the price. Questcor’s rivals had plans to develop and distribute the drug in the United States but Questcor allegedly stepped in and bought the drug without having any plans for it. By doing so, Questcor could purportedly continue to charge $34,000 for its H.P. Acthar gel.
“This is an egregious case of a monopolist doing a deal to eliminate potential competition and keep its power over pricing. It is abhorrent that lifesaving drugs cost New Yorkers tens of thousands of dollars.” Schneiderman said. “This settlement will restore the competition that was prevented by Questcor’s illegal actions, and my office will continue to vigorously enforce antitrust laws to prevent consumers and taxpayers from being saddled with the out-of-control drug prices that can result from unlawful conduct.”