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US: Mallinckrodt to pay $100 million to settle antitrust suit

 |  January 18, 2017

The drugmaker Mallinckrodt has agreed to pay $100 million to settle Federal Trade Commission and state charges that the company and its Questcor division violated antitrust laws after Questcor purchased rights to a drug that “threatened its monopoly in the US market” for its own drugs, the FTC said.

The FTC’s complaint claims that while benefiting from its monopoly in ultra-pricey Achthar drugs, which are used to treat spasms in infants and as a drug of last resort in other serious conditions, Questcor illegally acquired the U.S. rights to develop a competing drug, Synacthen Depot, from Novartis, in 2014.

“The acquisition stifled competition by preventing any other company from using the Synacthen assets to develop a synthetic ACTH drug, preserving Questcor’s monopoly and allowing it to maintain extremely high prices for Acthar,” the FTC said.

After that purchase, “Questcor took advantage of its monopoly to repeatedly raise the price of Acthar, from $40 per vial in 2001 to more than $34,000 per vial today — an 85,000 percent increase,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. According to the FTC’s complaint, an Acthar treatment for infantile spasms can cost more than $100,000.

“We charge that, to maintain its monopoly pricing, it acquired the rights to its greatest competitive threat, a synthetic version of Acthar, to forestall future competition. This is precisely the kind of conduct the antitrust laws prohibit,” Ramirez said.

The FTC said that, “In addition to the $100 million monetary payment, the proposed stipulated court order requires that Questcor grant a license to develop Synacthen Depot to treat infantile spasms and nephrotic syndrome to a licensee approved by the commission.”

Full Content: Wall Street Journal

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