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Judge Tosses Endo, Impax FTC Antitrust Suit

 |  March 24, 2022

A federal judge tossed a lawsuit by the US Federal Trade Commission on Thursday accusing Endo International Plc and Impax Laboratories of violating antitrust laws by striking a deal that stifled competition in the market for Opana ER, an opioid pain medication.

The reasons for US District Judge Royce Lamberth’s decision were not immediately clear, as the Washington, D.C.-based judge filed his opinion under seal to allow the parties five days to address whether anything should be redacted.

The decision marks a major setback for FTC antitrust enforcers, who had successfully pursued an earlier case, in 2017, against both drugmakers over the same drug.

The companies argued the deal at the center of the FTC’s latest case was not anticompetitive but rather a lawful licensing agreement that allowed both companies to compete.

The US Food and Drug Administration had asked Endo in June 2017 to pull its extended-release oxymorphone product off the market because of concerns that it was vulnerable to intravenous abuse, the FTC stated. That left Impax’s generic extended-release version of the medicine alone on the market. Rather than reformulate its drug, Endo struck a deal with Impax in August 2017 to refrain from re-entering the market, the FTC stated.

Endo, represented by George Gordon of Dechert, and Amneal Pharmaceuticals Inc, which now owns Impax and was represented by Devora Allon of Kirkland & Ellis, did not respond to requests for comment. The FTC declined to comment.

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