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Celgene Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over Cancer Drug Monopoly

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Los Angeles: Celgene Corp is facing an antitrust class action lawsuit filed by The City of Providence in New Jersey, alleging the pharmaceutical company monopolized the market for two of its blockbuster cancer drugs by blocking its competitors' access to samples necessary to bring generic versions to market.

According to the potential class action, Celgene is using risk evaluation and mitigation strategies, a federal drug safety measure, to prevent competitors such as Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. from gaining access to samples for Thalomid and Revlimid. Those samples are necessary for the Food and Drug Administration test for generic equivalency.

According to the lawsuit, "Due to Celgene' monopolistic and anticompetitive conduct, plaintiff, and all other consumers and third-party payors, paid higher prices to treat leprosy and multiple myeloma than they otherwise would have absent Celgene' conduct." Specifically, the plaintiff alleges those prices have risen upwards of 3,400 percent since the initial approval of the treatments by the FDA in 1998. The lawsuit contends that one Revlimid pill sells for approximately $500.

Providence is being represented by Jennifer Sarnelli and James S. Notis of Gardy & Notis LLP and Jeffrey C. Block, Whitney E. Street, Erica G. Langsen and Lesley E. Weaver of Block & Leviton LLP.

The suit is City of Providence v. Celgene Corporation, case number 2:15-cv-01605, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

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