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Pfizer files lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson over biosimilar Inflectra

By Sara Shayanian
Pfizer files lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson over biosimilar Inflectra
Pfizer filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson for "anticompetitive practices" Photo by Justin Lane/EPA

Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson on Wednesday, accusing it of anti-competitive practices and inappropriately excluding biosimilar competitors.

Pfizer claims that J&J violated U.S. antitrust laws, denied patients across the United States access to therapeutic options, and undermined the benefits of price competition through their monopoly in the innovative and growing biologics marketplace.

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"For U.S. patients and providers to realize the benefits of biosimilars, new and existing biosimilar entrants should have a fair chance to compete with originator products -- now and in the future -- based on lawful pricing and access practices," Pfizer President John Young said.

"By supporting the availability of biosimilar therapies, we can help ensure that patients have better access to a wide range of lower cost therapeutic options."

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The lawsuit centers on competition between Johnson & Johnson's Remicade and Pfizer's biosimilar alternative Inflectra.

A biosimilar has no clinically meaningful differences from the original product in terms of safety or potency, making it an alternative product that can be used in the same way for the same reasons.

Pfizer claims that Johnson & Johnson threatened to withhold rebates from insurers who claimed Inflectra was an acceptable alternative to Remicade, and offered discounts on Remicade to those insurers who agreed not to carry Pfizer's product -- thereby causing the insurers to change their initial direction.

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"It's not in the best interest of patients and our healthcare system if originator companies like J&J can use their dominant market position to prevent access to lower cost, effective biosimilar medicines in the U.S.," Young continued.

"Pfizer is committed to challenging practices like those implemented by J&J."

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