J&J files suit against Amgen to protect Procrit sales
Johnson & Johnson has filed an antitrust lawsuit accusing rival Amgen of engaging in illegal sales practices to drive its best-selling drug Procrit (epoetin alfa) out of the market.
The lawsuit was filed in Federal District Court in Trenton, N.J.
"We believe the allegations in the complaint are without merit, and we plan to vigorously defend our position," Mary Klem, Amgen associate director, external communications, told MM&M.
The dispute involves Amgen's anti-anemia drug, Aranesp (darbepoetin alfa), which J&J's Ortho Biotech said now accounts for about two-thirds of sales to oncology clinics for products to aid red-blood cell growth.
Ortho Biotech claimed in the suit that Amgen penalizes oncology clinics by requiring they buy nearly all red blood-cell growth drugs from Amgen if the clinics want good deals on its two white blood-cell growth drugs, Neulasta (pegfilgrastim) and Neupogen (filgrastim).
Amgen has a near monopoly for the lifesaving white blood cell drugs, with 98 percent of clinic sales, Ortho Biotech said.
Failure to buy at least 75 percent of red blood cell growth drugs from Amgen means that a clinic will have to buy Neulasta and Neupogen at prices that exceed government reimbursement, the lawsuit said.