Pfizer sues Johnson & Johnson for violating US antitrust laws over Remicade biosimilar

Courtney Goldsmith
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Pfizer said J&J undermined competition (Source: Getty)

Pharmaceuticals firm Pfizer has filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson over "anticompetitive practices" for its rheumatoid arthritis drug Remicade.

Pfizer alleged J&J signed contracts with US health insurers that denied patients access to competitors including Pfizer's biosimilar, a rival drug that regulators approved as a generic substitute. Pfizer said J&J violated federal antitrust laws and undermined competition.

The company effectively prevented hospitals and doctors from stocking the biosimilar as J&J threatened to withhold significant rebates unless insurers agreed to the exclusionary contracts.

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"These anticompetitive practices are preventing physicians from trying and patients from accessing the biosimilar," Pfizer said.

John Young, Pfizer's group president of essential health, said: “As evident by their success in markets such as Europe, we know biosimilars can improve patient access to important, life-saving medicines.

“It’s not in the best interest of patients and our healthcare system if originator companies like J&J can use their dominant market position to prevent access to lower cost, effective biosimilar medicines in the US. Pfizer is committed to challenging practices like those implemented by J&J that block biosimilar options for patients and price competition – through the courts and by working with policymakers and regulators – so that patients have a wide range of treatment options available to them at a competitive price."

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