(CN) – Though it vowed to protect any trade secrets it learned, Chicago plans to tell the media what its subpoena about the addictive painkiller Fentora yielded, drugmakers claim in court.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and its subsidiary Cephalon sued the city of Chicago on Wednesday for anticipatory breach of contract.
They say Chicago is planning to go to USA Today with a confidential document that the city obtained while investigating the marketing and sale of prescription opioid medicine.
Chicago served Teva with a subpoena to learn how Cephalon markets its Fentora, a powerful opioid with the active ingredient fentanyl, a narcotic about 100 times more potent than morphine.
Teva allegedly made a condition on its disclosure of more than six years of confidential and trade-secret information pertaining to the drug.
It says the city promised that any documents Teva produced “would only be used for the purposes of the investigation and would not be publicly disclosed.”
“Absent those commitments, Teva would not have produced all of the documents that it did,” the complaint filed in Cook County Circuit Court states.
These assurances came into question when USA Today reporter Pete Eisler submitted a request on July 30, 2014, with Chicago under the Freedom of Information Act, according to the complaint.
Teva objected to the disclosure of the document that Eisler sought, but Chicago allegedly said that its production of the material is “imminent.”
Since their confidentiality agreement does not permit such disclosure, and the city faces no such information-act requirement to produce the document in question, Teva and Cephalon say an injunction and declaratory judgment are necessary to prevent irreparable harm.
Teva and Cephalon describe the document in question as a “198-page marketing plan,” “replete with internal budgets, pricing information, competitive research, trade secrets, internal tactical plans … and sales strategies.”
These “commercially sensitive” plans are still in use and “may be used in the future to launch new products,” the complaint states.
Disclosure of third-party data is also a risk, the drugmakers say.
They are represented by Tinos Diamantato with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.
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