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Drugmaker Apotex accuses Amarin of Vascepa monopoly in US lawsuit

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By Mike Scarcella

June 17 (Reuters) -Drugmaker Apotex has sued its rival Amarin <AMRN.O>in federal court in New Jersey, accusing it of thwarting competition for a generic version of its heart drug Vascepa and causing wholesalers and other buyers to pay artificially higher prices.

The lawsuit,filed on Friday, said Amarin “has engaged in a calculated anticompetitive scheme” for more than a decade to protect Vascepa from drugmakers that want to market a lower-cost generic.

Vascepa is used to lower harmful fat levels in people's bloodstreams. Its active ingredient is a type of omega-3 acid derived from fish oil.

Apotex alleged Amarin’s suppliers agreed not to sell Vascepa's active ingredient to Apotex and other generic drugmakers, creating a “barrier to entry” in violation of U.S. antitrust law, according to the lawsuit.

Amarin, based in Dublin, and Toronto-based Apotex did not immediately respond to requests for comment. None of Amarin’s suppliers are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Apotex is seeking unspecified monetary damages and other penalties. The company said it had lost “many millions of dollars of damages in the form of lost profits” since at least mid-2021.

The lawsuit said Amarin has promised its suppliers “highly lucrative terms” to incentivize them from doing business with rival drugmakers.

Amarin’s purchasing agreement with BASF cost the pharma company between $10 and $20 million per year to keep exclusivity, according to the lawsuit.

Apotex alleged Amarin locked up more deals than necessary with suppliers in order to stymie future generic competition.

The case is Apotex Inc v Amarin Pharma Inc et al, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, No. 3:24-cv-07041.

For plaintiff: Christopher Dalton of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney

For defendant: No appearance yet

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Reporting by Mike Scarcella


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