PHILADELPHIA (CN) – Biovail Corp. and GlaxoSmithKline charged inflated prices for Wellbutrin by filing meritless patent infringement claims to keep generic versions off the market, a union health plan claims in a federal antitrust class action.
The union claims the defendants’ sham litigation and anti-competitive agreements with potential rivals cost consumers $37 million a month.
Annual sales of Wellbutrin XL came to $1.8 billion during the class period, claims named plaintiff IBEW-NECA Local 505 Health and Welfare Plan.
Wellbutrin – bupropion – is a norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitor. It is also sold under the name Zyban as an anti-smoking drug. It differs from other anti-depressants, such as Prozac and Paxil, which inhibit reuptake of serotonin.
Had the defendants not filed sham litigation against four generic drugmakers, generic forms of the drug would have reached the market by November 2005, the complaint states. The class period accordingly begins on Nov. 14, 2005.
A congressional investigation found that the defendants’ delaying tactics cost consumers $37 million a month, the complaint states.
Plaintiffs are represented by David Cohen with Saltz Mongeluzzi Barrett & Bendesky.