In a sprawling, 180 page amended complaint, a group of plaintiffs accused pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences of maintaining a “stranglehold” on drugs essential to effective HIV treatment.
The named plaintiffs seek to represent a class of All persons or entities in the United States and its territories who indirectly purchased, paid and/or provided reimbursement for some or all of the purchase price for any cART drug, for consumption by themselves, their families, or their members, employees, insureds, participants, or beneficiaries, other than for resale, during the period May 14, 2015 through and until the anticompetitive effects of Defendants’ unlawful conduct cease.”
The defendats include Gilead, Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Bristol Myers Squibb, and others.
The lawsuit, originally filed in May 2019, claims that Gilead has conspired with the other defendants to maintain its monopoly on the component drugs of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), the modern treatment for HIV. The complaint says this has been accomplished through the use of horizontal agreements between Gilead and its competitors, purportedly a per se violation of antitrust laws.
Specific allegations include the widespread efforts to prevent the creation of generic versions of the drugs in question, which the plaintiffs say has kept prices high and stifled innovation. Other products made by Gilead have been intentionally delayed and degraded by the company, court documents say. Stribild was allegedly degraded in an effort to move patients to a new drug, Genvoya, which was covered under a no-generics restriction that would last longer than Stribild’s.
The plaintiffs stated fifteen claims, and seek class certification, a permanent injunction ending anticompetitive restraints, damages, and costs. Claims were filed under state and federal antitrust laws and consumer protection statutes.
The plaintiffs are represented by a variety of law firms, including Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, Durie Tangri, Hilliard & Shadowen, Sperling & Slater, and others. Gilead is represented by White & Case, while Johnson & Johnson is represented by Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath and Bristol Myers Squibb is represented by Arnold & Porter.