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US: Merck cannot arbitrate rotavirus vaccine antitrust claims

 |  January 27, 2019

Three pediatric medical practices can proceed with a proposed class action accusing pharmaceutical company Merck of illegally stifling competition to its rotavirus vaccine RotaTeq after a judge rejected the drugmaker’s bid to send the case to arbitration.

US District Judge J. Curtis Joyner in Philadelphia ruled on Wednesday, January 23, that arbitration clauses contained in contracts Merck entered into with so-called physician buying groups through which the pediatricians bought the vaccines did not apply to their practices.

The suit is a class action by pediatricians alleging the pharma company used its monopoly in certain essential vaccines to unlawfully drive up prices on the rotavirus vaccine, which most children aren’t required to get.

The suit is the latest in a string of complaints about drugmakers that sell their medications through bundled discounts and penalize buyers who don’t take the entire bundle.

Full Content: Bloomberg & Reuters

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