Union files RICO suit over blood pressure drug pricing

By Noddy A. Fernandez | Nov 21, 2018

PHILADELPHIA — A welfare union has filed a class-action lawsuit against manufacturing companies, citing alleged fraud, monopolization and unfair competition.

United Food and Commercial Workers Health and Welfare Fund of Northeastern Pennsylvania, on behalf of itself and all others similarly situated, filed a complaint on Nov. 6 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Ranbaxy and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries for alleged violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

According to the complaint, between Sept. 21, 2012, and Jan. 5, 2015, defendant Ranbaxy maintained its market power in the valsartan market by allegedly engaging in an anticompetitive scheme to keep generic equivalents off the market. 

Plaintiff claims through a series of alleged misrepresentations, fraud and deceit, defendants were able to deceive the FDA into believing that Ranbaxy's manufacturing and production operations were in compliance with applicable regulations, and that its data was reliable when Ranbaxy knew that this was not true.

As a result, plaintiff and the class paid higher prices for esomeprazole magnesium than they would have due to the supracompetitive prices, the suit says.

The plaintiffs allege defendants knowingly and intentionally engaged in an anticompetitive scheme designed to block and delay entry of other AB-rated generic versions of valsartan to maintain its market power.

The plaintiffs request a trial by jury and seek judgment for class damages, award of costs of suit, and such further and additional relief as necessary. They are represented by Gerald Lawrence, Julia McGrath and Renee Nolan of Lowey Danneberg PC in West Conshohocken.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Case No. is 2:18-cv-04807-GEKP.

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Lowey Dannenberg Cohen & Hart PC U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

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