Plaintiff Self-Insured Schools of California (“SISC”) has filed a Class Action Complaint against Defendants Janssen Biotech, Inc., Janssen Oncology, Inc., Janssen Research & Development, LLC, Johnson & Johnson, and BTG International Limited in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.
This civil antitrust class action seeks a jury trial and damages recovery arising from Defendants’ alleged unlawful scheme to prolong their monopoly in the market for abiraterone acetate, which is used to treat patients with prostate cancer. SISC seeks a damages award for itself and the proposed Class of end-payors that purchased Zytiga® (Defendants’ branded abiraterone acetate) indirectly from Defendants at supracompetitive prices.
SISC alleges that Defendants fraudulently obtained and asserted U.S. Patent 8,822,438 (“the ’438 Patent”) to block generic entry. The ‘438 Patent covers the use of abiraterone acetate in combination with prednisone to treat prostate cancer. Defendants told the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) that Zytiga’s commercial success showed that administration with prednisone was not obvious. But Defendants failed to disclose the existence of another patent, U.S. Patent No. 5,604,213 (“the ’213 Patent”), which blocked other manufacturers from entering the market, the true reason for Zytiga’s commercial success.
Generic drug manufacturers were ready to enter the market when the ’213 Patent expired in December 2016, but Defendants filed infringement actions asserting the ’438 Patent against the generics, preventing them from selling generic abiraterone acetate. This competition would have reduced abiraterone acetate pricing by at least 80%, and Defendants would have reasonably expected to lose 90% or more of Zytiga’s market share. Instead, Defendants continued to hold a monopoly on sales of Zytiga, which they sold at artificially inflated prices. As a result, Plaintiff and the proposed class have paid hundreds of millions of dollars in overcharges.