Class action lawsuit accuses AbbVie of creating ‘patent thicket’ for Humira

March 20, 2019

AbbVie is once again facing pressure for its alleged attempts to protect its blockbuster medication, Humira, from generics competition.

A new class action lawsuit filed by New York’s largest grocery union has accused the company of creating a web of 100-plus patents — a so-called “patent thicket” — to keep Humira generics off the market. The suit also alleges that AbbVie made deals with other companies to delay the release of cheaper biosimilar options.

 Humira is the top selling drug in the world and has raked in about $130 billion in sales since its launch in 2002.

Even though Humira’s primary patent expired in 2016, the suit alleges that the patent thicket has successfully kept biosimilar makers from competing with Humira in the U.S. Rather than litigating the 100 patents, companies have opted to negotiate for biosimilar launch dates as late as 2023.

The suit accuses AbbVie of violating antitrust and consumer protection laws. AbbVie has defended its patent strategy for Humira, saying that it has protected the investments that are necessary to “advance healthcare.”

Read the Reuters report.