Eli Lilly Must Pay $11.7 Million for Sham Litigation in Brazil

July 2, 2015

Brazil’s antitrust watchdog has fined Eli Lilly and its local affiliate $11.7 million for filing contradictory and misleading lawsuits in Brazilian courts to maintain exclusive rights to its cancer drug Gemzar.

As a result of the sham litigation, Lilly held a temporary monopoly on the sale of Gemzar (gemcitabine hydrochloride) from July 2007 to March 2008, keeping its competitors out of the market, says the Administrative Council for Economic Defense, or CADE.

During three months of that period, Sandoz was forbidden from selling Gemcit (gemcitabine hydrochloride) to treat any type of cancer, even though Lilly’s monopoly was only related to marketing drugs used for treating breast cancer, CADE says.

The monopoly began when the Regional Federal Court ruled that the national drug authority, Anvisa, should not authorize competitors to sell generic versions of Gemzar, and concluded with a Superior Court of Justice determination that upholding the preliminary injunction would cause serious harm to public health and the economy, CADE says.

CADE claims Lilly abused its dominant position, charging $173 for Gemzar during the three-month period when Sandoz was forbidden from selling Gemcit, and then reducing the price to $60 after the Superior Court revoked the injunction.

Lilly strongly disagrees with CADE’s administrative ruling, as it believes it fully complied with the law, spokeswoman Lauren Zierke says. The company plans to appeal. — Jonathon Shacat