Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash
U.S. Judge Karen Spencer Martson of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania approved on March 15, 2023, a $25 million settlement of a class action lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson for allegedly blocking biosimilar products that compete with high-priced Remicade®, J&J’s immunosuppressive drug. Remicade® (infliximab), originally approved to treat patients with Crohn’s disease, was later approved for ailments including ulcerative colitis, psoriatic arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
The complaint alleged that J&J’s anticompetitive conduct gave it a “stranglehold on the market,” allowing it to generate more than $2 billion a year and driving the annual cost of the drug to patients to as much as $26,000.
Class counsel received $7 million in attorneys’ fees, plus $2.3 million in expenses.
This case adds to the growing list of successful discount bundling claims, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry, a list that is likely to expand significantly in the coming years. Discount bundling is now pervasive in most industries – buyers expect to pay less as they buy more.
There is also a growing number of conglomerates with broad product lines capable of employing unlawful discounting practices to foreclose competition from smaller rivals in specific markets. These smaller companies should keep an eye out for such practices because they could result in sizeable recoveries and a more level playing field.
In Re Remicade Antitrust Litigation, E.D. Pa., No. 17-4326-KSM.