Appeals Court Resurrects Regeneron's Lawsuit vs. Novartis

Appeals Court Resurrects Regeneron's Lawsuit vs. Novartis

March 19, 2024: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has made a pivotal decision, breathing new life into a major antitrust lawsuit initiated by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (REGN) against Novartis AG (NVS). This turn of events reignites a legal clash involving allegations of anticompetitive practices in the prescription eye medication market, setting the stage for a high-stakes legal battle.

Regeneron’s lawsuit, filed in 2020, levels serious accusations against Novartis. It claims that Novartis employed tactics to delay the market entry of Regeneron’s Eylea PFS, a prefilled syringe version of its established eye drug Eylea. The lawsuit further alleges that Novartis, which markets a competing product called Lucentis, used a patent on prefilled syringe technology to stifle competition. In a shocking twist, Regeneron also accuses Novartis of colluding with a contract manufacturer, Vetter Pharma International GmbH, to further restrict Regeneron’s access to this technology.

A lower court’s initial dismissal of the lawsuit in 2022 hinged on its determination that Regeneron had not adequately defined the relevant product market. However, the appeals court disagreed with this assessment. In its ruling, the court acknowledged the complexity of the market for ophthalmic drugs but concluded that Regeneron’s definition, focusing on prefilled syringes containing anti-VEGF medications for specific eye disorders, was sufficiently precise for antitrust purposes.

This appeals court decision paves the way for the lawsuit’s continuation. Regeneron will now have the opportunity to present its case in full, outlining Novartis’s alleged anticompetitive conduct and seeking damages for any harm suffered.

The legal battle between these two pharmaceutical giants has significant implications for the healthcare industry. A successful outcome for Regeneron could establish a precedent for deterring similar anticompetitive practices and promoting fair competition in developing and marketing essential medications.

Industry observers and legal experts will closely monitor the progress of this lawsuit. The outcome could influence pharmaceutical companies’ behavior regarding product development and market competition, potentially impacting the accessibility and affordability of critical drugs for patients.

This case underscores the ongoing scrutiny of anticompetitive practices within the pharmaceutical industry. Regeneron’s revived lawsuit reminds us of the importance of upholding fair competition to ensure patients have access to a variety of treatment options.


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