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US: Shire sues Allergan for hindering competition

 |  October 2, 2017

Shire filed an antitrust suit against Allergan, alleging Allergan’s contracts with Medicare Part D drug plans for its Restasis eye drops effectively blocked access to Shire’s rival drug.

The complaint, filed Monday, October 2, in federal court in Trenton, NJ, says Shire offered steep discounts in bids to secure insurance coverage of the company’s dry-eye drug Xiidra but the Part D plans refused, due to Allergan’s “bundled discounts, exclusive dealing” and other tactics.

“There was not a level playing field for us to compete” in Part D, John Neeley, Shire’s head of US pricing and market access, said in an interview. Some 13% of Part D patients have access to Xiidra on their drug formularies, compared with about 88% of commercially insured patients, a Shire spokeswoman says.

The lawsuit is the second in the past few weeks to take aim at the closely guarded contracts between drugmakers and health insurers and pharmacy-benefit managers that play an important but hidden role determining which drugs patients can get and will sell well.

Allergan and Shire are headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, although Allergan has operations in Parsippany, New Jersey, and Shire in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Shire won US Food and Drug Administration approval in July 2016 for Xiidra, the first dry eye disease drug to win FDA approval since Restasis in 2002.

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