AbbVie intends to appeal the latest ruling in a case accusing the company and its partner Besins Healthcare of “sham litigation” to delay generic competition for AndroGel, the company’s testosterone replacement gel. AbbVie and Besins have been ordered to pay $448 million in damages, a decision that AbbVie spokeswoman Toni Haubert called “improper” as the company believes its “conduct was lawful.”
In 2014, The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a complaint accusing AbbVie and Besins of filing “baseless” patent infringement lawsuits against companies looking to introduce generic versions of AndroGel.
Most recently in the case, District Judge Harvey Bartle sided with the FTC, stating “the FTC has established the actual market reality that defendants possessed monopoly power and illegally and willfully maintained that monopoly power through the filing of sham litigation.”
He added that Perrigo, one of the companies that AbbVie filed a patent infringement lawsuit against, would have launched a generic version of AndreGel in June 2013 rather December 2014 had it not been for the actions of AbbVie.
The $488 million represents the companies’ AndroGel profits from June 2013 to August 2017, with the liability proportionally linked to their previously agreed royalty rates. Besins received eight percent of the U.S. net sales of AndroGel until March when it dropped to five, according to the court ruling.
FTC chairman Joe Simons commented, “This decision is a double victory, both for patients who rely on Androgel and for competition more broadly. It sends a clear signal that pharmaceutical companies can’t use baseless litigation to forestall competition from low-cost generics.”
Spokewoman Haubert says that the drugmaker is “disappointed” by the decision and there is an appeal planned.