Johnson & Johnson

US: 3rd Circuit sends Remicade antitrust suit to arbitration

According to a report from Reuters, Rochester Drug Cooperative must submit its claims that Johnson & Johnson is illegally suppressing competition for its rheumatoid arthritis treatment Remicade to an arbitrator.

The 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a 2018 ruling that allowed Rochester Drug Cooperative to pursue its antitrust claims in federal court in Philadelphia. The lawsuit alleges that J&J and its Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit have kept the price for Remicade artificially high by coercing insurance companies to deny coverage for less expensive biosimilar versions.

In its complaint, filed in 2018, RDC noted that, despite competition from biosimilars, J&J’s brand-name infliximab maintained and even increased its prices. “J&J did not achieve this unusual result by competition on the merits,” stated the complaint, “but instead through a multifaceted scheme to block biosimilar competition to Remicade through a web of exclusive dealing contracts.”

This case is just one of multiple cases related to J&J’s strategy to defend its market share for infliximab. In 2017, Pfizer filed an antitrust suit against J&J, alleging that the drug maker’s tactics had effectively denied patients access to biosimilar therapies (including Pfizer’s Inflectra) and undermined price competition in the biologics marketplace.