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US/UK: Insurers keep AstraZeneca in state court for reverse payment claims

 |  October 5, 2014

Several health insurers have reportedly secured a victory in their fight against UK pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca last week as the companies won the fight to keep the case at state-level court.

Reports say AstraZeneca and generic drug makers sought to move the case to federal court on the grounds that the pay-for-delay lawsuit involved the issue of whether the patent in question was valid at the time of any agreement made between the companies. Insurers including Blue Cross and Blue Shield as well as Aetna are accusing the pharmaceutical firms of illegally conspiring to delay the release of generic forms of medication.

But US District Judge Gerald McHugh ruled last week that while the question of the patent’s validity is relevant, it is not dispositive. “Plaintiffs can conceivably prove the existence of anticompetitive conduct in violation of state antitrust law without litigating the patent issue, but by instead relying on the nature of the settlements themselves,” he said.

Plaintiffs argue that AstraZeneca’s pay-for-delay agreements are considered anticompetitive under the precedence of the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling in FTC v. Actavis.

Full content: Courthouse News Service

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