On Thursday in the District of Minnesota, Natco Pharma filed a complaint against an unknown defendant, a seller on TradeIndia.com, alleging that the defendant has been selling unauthorized prescription drugs under Natco’s name through the online marketplace.
India-based Natco Pharma, a pharmaceutical developer, manufacturer, and marketer, claimed that the defendant, whose identity the plaintiff does not know, has “impersonated” Natco, “creating a false storefront” on the online marketplace to sell Natco products, including to consumers in Minnesota. The plaintiff stated that the online storefront is not authorized nor affiliated with Natco, as Natco does not do any of its business on TradeIndia.com.
The alleged products that the defendant has sold on TradeIndia.com include cancer treatment drugs Alphalan and Rasburnat, both of which the plaintiff said are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration to sell in the United States — although the plaintiff noted they are approved for sale in other countries, including India. Natco argued that it is not the seller of the formulations for the drugs purportedly being sold in its name on TradeIndia.com.
Further, Natco alleged that the defendant used photographs of the drug products from Natco’s website, for which the plaintiff owns copyrights.
The complaint noted that “(w)hile Defendant’s webpages are currently unavailable and appear to have been removed as of the date of the Complaint, Defendant may put up these webpages, or any other false and misleading webpages, again in the future.”
The plaintiff argued that the alleged falsities “are likely to have a material effect on the purchasing decisions of consumers” and “are also likely to cause confusion, mistake or deception among purchasers and/or users of the parties’ goods” as to the source of the products and whether they are affiliated with Natco.
“Plaintiff is damaged and suffers irreparable harm from Defendant’s material false statements,” Natco claimed. “Unless these statements of Defendant are enjoined by this Court, they will continue, and they will continue to cause irreparable injury to Natco and to the public.”
Specifically, the plaintiff alleged false advertising and unfair competition and requested monetary damages and enjoinment to bar the defendant from continuing the purported conduct, among other relief.
Natco is represented by Merchant & Gould.