On Friday, September 21, the Open Markets Institute filed an amicus brief in UFCW Unions and Employers Midwest Health Benefits Fund v. Novartis in support of the plaintiffs’ petition for panel rehearing at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. The class action monopolization suit alleges that, in order to keep its monopoly over the cancer treatment drug Gleevec, Novartis illegally obtained a patent by submitting false information about the drug’s active ingredient to the Patent Office.
The class action plaintiffs include unions and pension funds who overpaid for Gleevec because of Novartis’ alleged illegal monopoly over the life-saving drug. Gleevec treats leukemia and has been credited with saving tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of lives. But according to an NBC News report from 2017, patients have to take the pill daily and it costs over $140,000 per year. That represents a staggering increase from $26,000 per year in 2001.
Open Markets warned, “The [First Circuit] Court’s decision … threatens to immunize a broad range of misrepresentations and other false submissions to government agencies and courts and allow corporations to abuse governmental processes to monopolize markets.”
Read the full brief here.