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J&J and Pfizer quietly resolve Remicade biosimilar lawsuit

In 2017, Pfizer filed a lawsuit against J&J alleging that the company undertook anticompetitive practices in a bid to protect Remicade

Pharma giants Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Pfizer have privately resolved a prolonged lawsuit relating to alleged anticompetitive practices revolving around the biosimilar market for infliximab.

In 2017, Pfizer filed a lawsuit against J&J in which the pharma company alleged that J&J undertook anticompetitive practices in a bid to protect its immunology drug Remicade (infliximab).

As a result – Pfizer alleged – this restricted use of Pfizer's infliximab biosimilar Inflectra, which it originally launched in 2016.

Among the anticompetitive practices that Pfizer accused J&J of was contracting with payers and providers to prevent use of Inflectra, with Remicade payer contracts allegedly written to deny reimbursement for Inflectra, apart from cases where J&J’s drug had proven ineffective for patients.

J&J, in its defence against Pfizer’s allegations, maintained that Pfizer’s sales practices were the basis for unexceptional sales, adding that company should have put Inflectra on the market at a lower discount.

The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, although Pfizer said that all involved in the litigation had “agreed to resolve and dismiss all claims”.

"Janssen [J&J’s pharma division] has always been and remains committed to ensuring that our medicines – including Remicade – are accessible for patients and doctors who choose them. This approach compels us to compete responsibly on both price and value which is something we stand for, have proudly done and will continue to do,” J&J said in a statement.

“The US competition-based model is working. Prices for Remicade and other infliximabs have subsequently declined since biosimilars have been introduced, and we expect these competitive dynamics to continue,” the company added.

Inflectra was originally developed by South Korea-based Celltrion and licensed in 2009 by Hospira, which Pfizer then acquired for $15bn in 2015.

After receiving European approval in 2013, the biosimilar's US approval took a year longer than expected, with the FDA not giving it the green light until 2016. When it came the US approval covered six indications, including rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

27th July 2021

From: Marketing

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