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.
"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."