Novartis' Sandoz loses bid to break United Therapeutics' exclusive device deal for Remodulin

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Novartis' Sandoz accused United Therapeutics of blocking generics for its cardiovascular med Remodulin. (Pixabay)

Branded drugmakers often take creative strategies to protect their meds from generic competition. In United Therapeutics' case, the lever for shielding Remodulin was an exclusive deal with a drug-pump maker, or so Novartis' Sandoz contended. But a judge didn't buy that argument.

A New Jersey federal judge ruled Thursday that United could continue to enforce an exclusive deal with a device maker for prescriptions of its cardiovascular drug Remodulin, effectively shutting generic competitors out of the market, Reuters reports

In April, Sandoz and its generic marketing partner RareGen filed a lawsuit (PDF) against United and device company Smiths Medical for imposing “artificial restrictions” that block access to Remodulin generics and maintain high prices.

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Sandoz accused United and Smiths of instructing pharmacies dispensing treprostinil, the generic name for Remodulin, that only Smiths' pumps could be used. According to Sandoz, the device company threatened to stop selling its cartridges to pharmacies if they administered generic versions of the drug.

In Sandoz's telling, that scheme shut out half of Remodulin patients who take the drug subcutaneously from having access to generic treprostinil. 

RELATED: United Therapeutics teamed with pumpmaker to block Remodulin generics, Sandoz suit says