Activists File Class Action Suit Against Major Pharma Companies, Allege Conspiracy To Delay HIV Generics

STAT News reports:

In a bid to maintain its dominance in the HIV market, Gilead Sciences (GILD) allegedly conspired with other drug makers whose medicines were part of a so-called combination cocktail in order to block generic competition, according to a lawsuit filed by AIDS activists and two unions.

The complaint describes an unusual scheme concerning these cocktails, which are actually fixed-dose combinations of different medicines and have been widely used for several years to combat the virus.

Although Gilead has been a dominant player in the HIV marketplace, other companies manufacture HIV medicines that are useful components in a cocktail treatment.

The Washington Post reports:

Gilead forged deals that blocked generic competition, even after Gilead’s brand patents on key medications in the combination pills expired, according to the civil antitrust lawsuit.

Among the partners named along with Gilead as defendants were Bristol-Myers Squibb and Janssen, a division of Johnson & Johnson. Gilead said it was still digesting the 135-page lawsuit Tuesday and could not comment in detail.

The lawyers behind the lawsuit dug into Gilead’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and found the agreements that formed the core of the case. Patent-law specialists said the allegations in the lawsuit appeared to have merit and will further raise hackles on Capitol Hill.