Two major drug store chains sued Johnson & Johnson this week alleging the company strong-armed insurers out of covering biosimilars of its immunosuppressant drug Remicade (infliximab).
Walgreen and Kroger claim J&J used exclusionary contracts and bundled discounts to maintain a monopoly since the launch of Remicade equivalents from Pfizer and Merck. “Absent that exclusionary conduct, those products would have achieved much higher market shares and Plaintiffs and other purchasers would have received the benefits of that price competition in the form of lower purchase prices,” the lawsuit claims.
Within weeks of the approval of Inflectra, Pfizer’s biosimilar, in 2016, J&J implemented a “Biosimilar Readiness Plan” to maintain its market share, according to the complaint. The plan included entering into deals with health insurers under which they agreed to only cover the Pfizer or Merck products if treatment with Remicade first proved unsuccessful.