Law Street Media

Celgene Wins Transfer to New Jersey Over Insurers’ Objections in Drug Monopolization Case

A pile of white capsules.

A group of white nutritional supplement medicine capsules opened with contents spilling onto a wood grain surface.

On Monday, Judge Susan Richard Nelson of the District of Minnesota ruled that the suit brought by insurance companies against Celgene Corporation and its parent company, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (together, Celgene), must proceed in another forum. Judge Nelson also denied plaintiff Molina Healthcare Inc.’s claims without prejudice for want of personal jurisdiction over the defendant.

As previously reported, Molina and the other plaintiffs, BCBSM Inc., the Health Care Service Corporation, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc., are health insurance providers. In their September 2020 complaint, they alleged that Celgene maintained a monopoly over two of its drugs, Thalomid and Revlimid, “enabling it to charge inflated prices that resulted in Revlimid becoming the second highest grossing drug worldwide.”

Because Celgene engaged in anticompetitive behavior to delay and prevent the entry of generic versions of its drugs to market, the insurers were allegedly forced to pay supracompetitive prices to reimburse their members for Thalomid and Revlimid, the order explained.

The court first considered whether it had personal jurisdiction over Celgene. As to Molina, the court reasoned that because the plaintiffs did not allege that Molina is a resident of Minnesota, that Molina suffered any harm in the state, or that any of the conduct giving rise to Molina’s claims occurred there, it did not have personal jurisdiction over Celgene with respect to Molina’s claims. In a footnote, the court acknowledged that the plaintiffs had expressed their desire to engage in jurisdictional discovery, but it declined their request because they did not plead facts supporting it.

Judge Nelson then ruled that the court had subject-matter jurisdiction over the case and, in turn, denied the plaintiffs’ motion for remand to state court. The court next considered whether to analyze personal jurisdiction with respect to the non-Molina plaintiffs’ claims, or whether to transfer the case to the District of New Jersey. The court opted to shift the case after finding that judicial economy, in its view perhaps the most important analytical factor, weighed strongly in favor of transfer.

The plaintiffs are represented by Bennerotte & Associates P.A., Lowey Dannenberg P.C., and Schneider Wallace Cottrell Konecky LLP, and Celgene by Jones Day and Williams & Connolly LLP.

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