The Welfare Fund of Plumbers Local Union No. 200 has filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Biotech, Inc. over allegations that the companies are behind an exclusionary, competition-killing scheme involving J&J’s Remicade, an essential treatment for those with inflammatory diseases.
The complaint starts by describing Remicade as Johnson & Johnson’s bell cow medication, one that had a “nearly $5 billion annual market” that was threatened in 2016 when J&J’s patents for the drug expired and Pfizer introduced its own infliximab product. Samsung Bioepis followed suit shortly after, in 2017, with its own infliximab drug. These events kicked off the beginning of the defendants’ efforts to maintain their place at the top of the medication mountain, the lawsuit says.
The result of the defendants’ alleged exclusionary scheme, under the guise of which J&J calls its “Biosimilar Readiness Plan,” is that neither Pfizer nor Samsung Bioepsis’ infliximab medications has been able to gain any appreciable market share, the case asserts. In fact, the case adds the defendants have even reportedly been able to increase Remicade’s prices by as much as nine percent. The suit claims the “Biosimilar Readiness Plan” took several forms, including entering agreements with insurers that involved “an explicit commitment not to reimburse for other biosimilars."
“As a consequence, patients throughout the United States who rely on Remicade for necessary treatment were and are charged inflated, supra-competitive prices,” the complaint states.