GSK accused of monopolizing Wellbutrin

Did GlaxoSmithKline try to monopolize the Wellbutrin market? A lawsuit now certified as class-action says so. The plaintiffs accuse GSK of artificially boosting Wellbutrin prices by fibbing to the U.S. Patent Office and engaging in "sham" patent litigation against generics makers. The patent lawsuits delayed copycat versions of the drug, the class action alleges, forcing purchasers to pay unnecessarily high prices. GSK didn't comment on the allegations, and so far its court defense has focused on class certification, rather than the lawsuit's specific claims.

Meanwhile, Glaxo is working to downgrade competitors to its Alli weight-loss med. The drugmaker filed a citizen's petition with the FDA, attempting to persuade the agency to change the rules on dietary supplements that claim to aid weight loss. Being overweight is a risk factor for disease, GSK reasons, so supplement makers should be required to get the FDA to sign off on their effectiveness claims before their products can be sold. That would be quite a change: FDA has long held that weight-loss claims don't imply disease treatment or prevention. If the FDA considers changing that, the fur will fly in the weight-loss market.

- see the story at Legal Intelligencer
- check out the Pharmalot item
- read GSK's petition
- get Pharmalot's take

ALSO: Yesterday we reported on GlaxoSmithKline's protest letter to Massachusetts officials. Today, some legislators say that letter may backfire, inspiring state lawmakers to "dig in their heels" on banning gifts to doctors, rather than leading them to reconsider the move. Report

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