Five big U.S. retailers have filed an antitrust lawsuit against Pfizer Inc. and India’s Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, accusing the companies of conspiring to delay sales of generic versions of Lipitor, the best-selling drug in history. Walgreen Co., Kroger Co., Safeway Inc., SuperValu Inc. and HEB Grocery Co., the Plaintiffs in the suit, have accused the Defendants of running an “overarching anticompetitive scheme” to keep generic versions of the cholesterol drug off the market until November 30, 2011, 20 months after the original patent expired. Plaintiffs allege that the Defendants did this by obtaining a fraudulent patent, engaging in sham litigation, entering a price-fixing agreement to delay cheaper generics, and entering arrangements with pharmacy benefit managers to force retailers to buy more Lipitor, whose chemical name is atorvastatin calcium.
The Plaintiffs allege that “because of Defendants’ scheme to delay and suppress generic Lipitor competition, in whole or in part, Plaintiffs have paid hundreds of millions of dollars more for atorvastatin calcium than they would have paid.” The Plaintiffs are seeking triple damages and other remedies. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Trenton, New Jersey.
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