States alleged Abbott Laboratories; Fournier
Industrie Et Sante and Laboratoires Fournier, S.A., blocked competition from less expensive
generics by continuously making minor changes in the formulations of TriCor to prevent therapeutically equivalent generic substitutions. The states alleged that the product switches helped thwart generic competition, allowing the companies to charge monopoly prices for TriCor.
The lawsuit also allegd the companies used patents, which they obtained by deceiving the Patent and Trademark Office and improperly enforced and brought a series of patent infringement lawsuits against two generic companies. According to the complaint, Abbott and Fournier filed at least ten lawsuits against two generic companies who were attempting to obtain FDA approval for their generic versions of TriCor. Abbott and Fournier eventually lost or dismissed all of the lawsuits. As a result of the product switches and patent litigation, Abbott and Fournier have successfully thwarted generic competition and denied consumers and state agencies the choice of a lower priced therapeutically equivalent generic.
The states settled their claims for $22.5 milion, which covered governmental purchases, as well as injunctive relief to prevent “product hopping” by the defendants in the future.