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AbbVie files appeal contesting landmark $448 million antitrust win for Federal Trade Commission

By Mary Ann Magnell | Aug 23, 2018

PHILADELPHIA (Legal Newsline) – Defendants AbbVie Inc., Abbott Laboratories and Unimed Pharmaceuticals LLC filed an appeal on Aug. 6 in federal court in response to the final judgment in an antitrust case that found in favor of the Federal Trade Commission.

On July 18, AbbVie was found by a Philadelphia federal court to have instigated “sham litigation to illegally maintain its monopoly" over the testosterone replacement drug Androgel, according to a statement on the Federal Trade Commission’s website.  

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ordered the defendants to pay $448 million to consumers, the largest award ever in in an FTC antitrust case. 

The defendants' appeal was submitted on Aug. 6 by Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP of Los Angeles. The defendants appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

In 2014, the FTC alleged that AbbVie and its partner Besins Healthcare Inc. had overcharged for Androgel. 

In the July 18 final decision written by Judge Harvey Bartle III, the defendants were found to have illegally prevented American consumers access to lower-cost alternatives by “filing baseless patent infringement lawsuits against potential generic competitors,” said the FTC statement.

“This decision is a double victory, both for patients who rely on Androgel and for competition more broadly,” said FTC Joe Simons in a statement on the Federal Trade Commission’s website. “It sends a clear signal that pharmaceutical companies can’t use baseless litigation to forestall competition from low-cost generics.”

The final judgment entered in favor of the Federal Trade Commission ordered the establishment of a redress fund within 30 days, in which “the money in the redress fund shall be held in escrow, and shall not be disbursed until this action has been finally resolved, including any appeals.”  

The defendants were also ordered to provide the FTC with information and data “relevant to facilitate distribution of the money paid under this judgment, including…last known contact information, and prescription and purchasing data of Androgel customers and consumers,” according to the ruling.

The FTC also filed an appeal July 20 to the Third Circuit, appealing the denial of its motion for reconsideration and its claim for an injunction and determining the amount of equitable monetary relief.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, case number 2:14-cv-5151

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Abbott Laboratories AbbVie U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania US Federal Trade Commission

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