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US: Johnson & Johnson file for dismissal in Kroger case

 |  December 17, 2018

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) filed a motion to dismiss in the antitrust claim brought against the company by Walgreens and Kroger in regard to sales of J&J’s reference infliximab product, Remicade—a pharmaceutical which treats various irritable bowel conditions. In early December, the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied the motion.

In June 2018, Walgreen and Kroger filed an antitrust suit against J&J and its Janssen division seeking permanent injunctive relief and damages “arising out of [J&J and Janssen’s] unlawful exclusion of biosimilar competition to the brand name drug Remicade,” according to the suit.

Walgreen alleged that J&J’s hold on the market was due to exclusionary practices enacted through “contracts and bundled discounts that have suppressed competition.” Furthermore, the suit states that J&J entered into agreements with insurers through which they agreed not to cover either of the biosimilar products on their respective plans, or to only do so in rare cases.

According to the order of dismissal, J&J moved to dismiss Walgreens’ and Kroger’s claim on two grounds: J&J alleged that the retailers’ claims did not sufficiently allege antitrust violations, and that because the retailers do not have consent from the distributors to pursue these claims, they lacked antitrust standing.

On the first ground, the court found that, similar to a case brought by Pfizer, the complaint “plainly and repeatedly emphasizes that, as a result of the anticompetitive behavior,” the plaintiffs have “paid inflated prices for those products.”

Finally, in regard to the second ground, the Court converted J&J’s motion into one for summary judgement, and will hear additional evidence and briefing.

Full Content: Center For Bio Similars

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