Underscoring the lucrative potential for biosimilars, Pfizer (PFE) has accused Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) of using anti-competitive practices to prevent insurers from covering its version of a best-selling J&J medicine.
In a lawsuit filed on Wednesday, Pfizer claims that J&J used various illegal contracting tactics to convince insurers not to cover Inflectra, a biosimilar version of the blockbuster Remicade treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases. A biosimilar, you may recall, is a nearly identical variant of a brand-name biologic medicine and is expected to provide the same result in patients.
The move comes nearly a year after Pfizer launched its drug amid speculation that a price war with J&J would ensue, since prevailing wisdom says a lower price is needed to gain market share. But despite initially pricing Inflectra at a 15 percent discount to the $31,500 list price for Remicade, the drug generated just $172 million in sales during the first six months of this year. By contrast, Remicade notched $3.2 billion in global sales – and $1 billion in U.S. sales – during that time.
If memory serves, J&J outright sued then Abbott and won $1.7 billion USD for infringement on the Remicade patent by the Humira product, It was overturned on appeal but still rather worse tactics than just low sales, I think.
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