Buyers of the popular analgesic Celebrex on Wednesday asked a federal court in Virginia to classify as a class action suit their lawsuit against Pfizer accusing the drug giant of using fraudulent patents to delay generic drug competition and maintain supra-competitive drug prices.
Buyer American Sales Co. LLC has sued since joining other plaintiffs from other districts who alleged that Pfizer Inc. cost hundreds of millions of buyers by abusing the courts and the US Patent and Trademark Office to extend its Exclusive window to sell Celebrex. Pushing the competition back six months despite the cuts twice overturning a dominant patent.
“Recognizing that every week that retained patent exclusivity for Celebrex earned tens of millions of dollars in additional benefits, Pfizer sought to maintain its exclusivity in Celebrex for as long as possible by misleading the PTO in reissuing the invalidated patent,” he said. “Claimants of the direct buyer class respectfully request that the court between the attached proposed order certifying the proposed class.”
In 2008, the Federal Circuit ruled in favor of Pfizer against a generic that violated a pair of Celebrex patents, but also overturned a third “method of use” patent. Since the patent expired after the other two, its removal changed the expiration of the patent protection of Celebrex against generic competition before, from December 2015 to May 30, 2014.
The class certification request said that Pfizer, seeking to expand an exclusivity window, quickly and allegedly fraudulently requested a reissue of the invalidated patent with the USPTO. The patent was reissued in 2013 and Pfizer used it to sue pharmacists working to obtain FDA approval for generics that could have competed with Celebrex once the other two patents expired.
Although a June 2014 ruling from a Virginia federal court invalidated the reissued patent, before the final judgment was filed Pfizer settled down with generic drug makers before their intact patents expired on May 30 with all Agree not to sell their Celebrex competitors until December 2014.
That forced consumers to pay monopoly prices on Celebrex for six more months, the lawsuit said, and those who bought it during that period should be entitled to the difference between that price tag and the price driven by generic competitors. For a drug that totaled $ 2 billion in sales in 2013, it could be hundreds of millions of dollars of overhead, according to demand.
The certification motion argues that the case “meets all requirements” to be certified as a collective remedy and that “raises issues common to all members of the class that are analogous, if not identical, to those of other certified cases” .
The certification effort of the class comes on the heels of the conclusion of another case of Celebrex. In December, a judge approved a $ 468 million settlement in a case in which the plaintiffs accused Pfizer of misleading investors about the risks of Celebrex and Bextra, another painkiller. In addition, Pfizer had to pay $ 150 million in legal fees and litigation expenses incurred during the long-running case initiated in 2004.