A Message for Big Pharma: A 400% Price Hike on Life-Changing Medication? Anticompetitive. And Unconscionable.In re Abbott Laboratories Norvir Antitrust Litigation
In 1996, pharmaceutical giant Abbott Laboratories introduced Norvir, a new drug that revolutionized HIV treatment options. When taken in combination with other drugs, including those produced by Abbott's competitors, Norvir acted as a powerful booster, which resulted in a treatment that dramatically extended the lives of people living with AIDS.An important victory is achieved against a price-fixing drug company on behalf of HIV-positive patients and the public at large.
Abbott shocked the world when, nearly 10 years after the drug's introduction, the Company quadrupled Norvir's price. People living with HIV and their advocates alleged that the price hike was part of an effort to undermine competitors' sales and to stymie competition in the HIV drug market. They argued that the 400% price hike was not only anticompetitive, it was unconscionable - seriously harming the ongoing treatment of HIV positive patients already fighting for their lives.
Labaton Sucharow fought back.
As co-lead counsel in a class action filed in California federal court, we won a series of legal victories culminating in a successful attack on the patents that Abbott used to defend its actions. Indeed, in 2006, Labaton Sucharow secured a landmark ruling that set important precedents for the use of intellectual property by the pharmaceutical sector; precedents that will help deter unlawful and unethical tactics in the future. But far more important, in 2009, Labaton Sucharow mapped a novel settlement to the ongoing litigation, one which required Abbott to make a multimillion dollar fund available to benefit nonprofit organizations serving individuals with AIDS. This settlement has already - and will continue to - change lives, ensuring that clinics across the country keep their doors open and continue to offer critical care to a population in need.
We took on one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies and argued that patients come before profits. On behalf of those patients, and all others struggling to contain drug costs and maintain healthy lives, we won a key victory.