Justia U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Drugs & Biotech
Gibbons v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.
In this multi-district litigation, plaintiffs brought a series of products liability actions against the makers of Eliquis for injuries they or their decedents suffered while taking the drug. In the multi-district litigation, the district court denied motions to remand many of the actions to state court and then dismissed 64 suits. The Second Circuit affirmed, holding that 28 U.S.C. 1441(b)(2) was no barrier to the removal of the transferred actions at issue. The court held that a home‐state defendant may in limited circumstances remove actions filed in state court on the basis of diversity of citizenship, was authorized by the text of Section 1441(b)(2), and was neither absurd nor fundamentally unfair. The court also affirmed the dismissal of plaintiffs' negligence and strict liability claims as preempted by the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act. In this case, plaintiffs' claims consisted of conclusory and vague allegations and did not plausibly allege the existence of newly acquired information. Therefore, plaintiffs' allegations were insufficient to state a claim that was not preempted. View "Gibbons v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co." on Justia Law
United States v. Scully
A jury found William Scully guilty of mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States through the introduction of misbranded drugs into interstate commerce, introduction of misbranded drugs into interstate commerce, receipt of misbranded drugs into interstate commerce and delivery thereof for pay, introduction of unapproved drugs into interstate commerce, and unlicensed wholesale distribution of prescription drugs. He was sentenced principally to 60 months in prison. The main issue on appeal was whether the district court properly excluded evidence relating to Scully’s advice-of-counsel defense. Because the Second Circuit found that the evidence was admissible and its exclusion was not harmless error, it vacated the district court’s judgment and remanded for further proceedings. View "United States v. Scully" on Justia Law
In re ACTOS End-Payor Antitrust Litigation
Plaintiffs filed a class action alleging that Takeda prevented competitors from timely marketing a generic version of Takeda’s diabetes drug ACTOS by falsely describing two patents to the FDA. Plaintiffs claimed that these false patent descriptions channeled Takeda’s competitors into a generic drug approval process that granted the first-filing applicants a 180-day exclusivity period, which in turn acted as a 180-day "bottleneck" to all later-filing applicants. 9 out of 10 generic applicants took that route. Teva was prevented from seeking approval via another regulatory mechanism when the FDA announced that all generic manufacturers would be required to take the bottlenecked route. Plaintiffs alleged that they were wrongfully obligated to pay monopoly prices for ACTOS when Takeda's patent on the active ingredient in ACTOS expired when the mass of generic market entry occurred. The district court dismissed plaintiffs' antitrust claims. The court affirmed to the extent that plaintiffs' theory posits a delay in the marketing of generic alternatives to ACTOS by all the generic applicants other than Teva, because plaintiffs' theory presupposes that these applicants were aware of Takeda’s allegedly false patent descriptions when they filed their applications, which is not supported by well-pleaded allegations. However, the court concluded that plaintiffs' theory as to Teva does not require any knowledge of the false patent descriptions. Therefore, the court reached other issues as to Teva and found plaintiffs plausibly alleged that Takeda delayed Teva's market entry. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "In re ACTOS End-Payor Antitrust Litigation" on Justia Law
United States ex rel. Polansky v. Pfizer
Plaintiff appealed the dismissal of his suit brought under the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3729(a)-(b), and state analog. Plaintiff alleged that Pfizer, his former employer, improperly marketed Lipitor as appropriate for patients whose risk factors and cholesterol levels fall outside the National Cholesterol Education Program Guidelines; the Guidelines are incorporated into and made mandatory by the drug’s label; and Pfizer thus induced doctors to prescribe the drug, pharmacists to fill the prescriptions, and federal and state health care programs to pay for “off‐label” prescriptions. Judge Cogan dismissed the claims because he determined that the FDA’s approval of Lipitor was not dependent upon compliance with the Guidelines. The court expressly endorsed and adopted Judge Cogan’s carefully considered and thorough analysis, and affirmed on that basis. View "United States ex rel. Polansky v. Pfizer" on Justia Law
Apotex Inc. v. Acorda Therapeutics, Inc.
Apotex filed suit alleging that Acorda filed a sham citizen petition with the FDA to hinder approval of Apotex's competing formulation of a drug for treating spasticity, in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 2, and that Acorda violated the Lanham Act's, 15 U.S.C. 1125(a)(1), proscription on false advertising. The district court ruled that the simultaneous approval by the FDA of Apotex’s drug application and its denial of Acorda’s citizen petition was by itself insufficient to support a Sherman Act claim. The district court then granted summary judgment and dismissed all of Apotex’s false advertising claims on the grounds that (with the exception of one graph) no representation was literally false or likely to mislead consumers. In regard to the graph, Apotex failed to show that the false depiction would meaningfully impact consumers’ purchasing decisions. The court concluded that, although precedent supports an inference that a citizen petition is an anticompetitive weapon if it attacks a rival drug application and is denied the same day that the application is approved, that inference has been undercut by recent FDA guidance. As to false advertising, the court agreed with the district court that no reasonable jury could have found that Acorda made literally false or misleading representations in its advertisements, with the exception of a single representation that Apotex has failed to show affected decisions to purchase. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Apotex Inc. v. Acorda Therapeutics, Inc." on Justia Law
In re Pfizer Inc. Securities Litigation
Plaintiffs filed suit against Pfizer and others, alleging violations of federal securities laws because Pfizer made fraudulent misrepresentations and fraudulently omitted to disclose information regarding the safety of two of its drugs, Celebrex (celecoxib) and Bextra (valdecoxib). On appeal, plaintiffs argued that the district court abused its discretion in excluding the testimony of plaintiffs' expert regarding loss causation and damages. The court concluded that the district court abused its discretion by excluding the expert's testimony in its entirety; the district court erred in concluding that the expert needed to disaggregate the effects of Pfizer’s allegedly fraudulent conduct from Searle’s or Pharmacia’s, regardless of whether Pfizer is ultimately found liable for the latters’ statements; the testimony could have been helpful to the jury even without such disaggregation; as to the expert's adjustment to the price increases, the district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that this change was not sufficiently reliable to be presented to a jury; the expert's error did not render the remainder of his testimony unreliable and the district court should have prevented him from testifying about the adjustment, but otherwise allowed him to present his findings on loss causation and damages; the district court erred in concluding, as a matter of law, that Pfizer had insufficient authority over certain Searle and Pharmacia statements as to have “made” them; but, however, the court's finding that the district court abused its discretion in excluding the expert's testimony does not turn on the question of Pfizer’s ultimate liability for these statements. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment for Pfizer and remanded. View "In re Pfizer Inc. Securities Litigation" on Justia Law
In re Sanofi Sec. Litig.
Plaintiffs filed suit under federal securities laws and state blue sky laws, alleging that Sanofi made materially false or misleading statements regarding its breakthrough drug, Lemtrada, designed to treat multiple sclerosis. The district court granted defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The court agreed with the district court's reasoning and holding. The court writes principally to examine the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision in Omnicare, Inc. v. Laborers District Council Construction Industry Pension Fund, decided after the district court rendered its decision. Given the sophistication of the investors here, the FDA’s public preference for double‐blind studies, and the absence of a conflict between defendants’ statements and the FDA’s comments, the court concluded that no reasonable investor would have been misled by defendants’ optimistic statements regarding the approval and launch of Lemtrada. Issuers must be forthright with their investors, but securities law does not impose on them an obligation to disclose every piece of information in their possession. As Omnicare instructs, issuers need not disclose a piece of information merely because it cuts against their projections. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "In re Sanofi Sec. Litig." on Justia Law
Pasternack v. Laboratory Corporation
Plaintiff, a physician and airplane pilot, filed suit contending that LabCorp and other drug testing companies, engaged to administer a random drug test in accordance with federal regulations governing aviation safety, mishandled the test. The court reserved decision and certified the following questions to the New York Court of Appeals: whether drug testing regulations and guidelines promulgated by the FAA and DOT create a duty of care for drug testing laboratories and program administrators under New York negligence law; and whether a plaintiff may establish the reliance element of a fraud claim under New York law by showing that a third party relied on a defendantʹs false statements resulting in injury to the plaintiff. View "Pasternack v. Laboratory Corporation" on Justia Law
Sergeants Benevolent Ass’n v. Sanofi-Aventis US
Plaintiffs, three health-benefit plans (HBPs), filed suit under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. 1961 et seq., and state laws, claiming that Aventis engaged in a pattern of mail fraud by failing to disclose the true risks of the antibiotic drug telithromycin, marketed as “Ketek.” The district court denied plaintiffs' motion to certify a class of all HBPs that paid for Ketek prescriptions on the theory that such HBPs were injured as a result of paying for Ketek prescriptions that would not have been written if Aventis had not concealed Ketek’s safety risks. The court concluded that UFCW Local 1776 v. Eli Lilly & Co. (Zyprexa) does not foreclose class certification for all RICO mail‐fraud claims brought against a drug manufacturer. However, the court concluded that Zyprexa’s reasoning applies to this case, and bars plaintiffs’ attempt to certify a class. While it may be possible for a class of plaintiffs to prove the causation element of a pharmaceutical fraud claim such as this one with generalized proof, plaintiffs have failed to offer such proof here. Therefore, class certification was correctly denied. The court's certification decision necessarily disposes of the summary judgment question as well: if plaintiffs’ RICO claims cannot be proved by generalized proof and plaintiffs have adduced no individualized proof, plaintiffs' claims cannot survive summary judgment. Further, the court agreed with the district court’s dismissal of the state‐law claims. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Sergeants Benevolent Ass'n v. Sanofi-Aventis US" on Justia Law
Merck Eprova AG v. Gnosis S.P.A.
Gnosis appealed the district court's entry of judgment in favor of Merck on its Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1125(a), false advertising and contributory false advertising claims; award to Merck of damages, attorneys' fees and costs, and prejudgment interest; and order that Gnosis engage in a corrective advertising campaign. Merck had filed suit against Gnosis, claiming misleading advertising in connection with its use of the pure Isomer Product chemical name and properties in its marketing materials for Extrafolate. At issue on appeal was the court's false advertising jurisprudence. The court concluded that where, as here, the parties operate in the context of a two-player market and literal falsity and deliberate deception have been proved, it is appropriate to utilize legal presumptions of consumer confusion and injury for the purposes of finding liability in a false advertising case brought under the Lanham Act; in a case where willful deception is proved, a presumption of injury may be used to award a plaintiff damages in the form of defendant's profits, and may, in circumstances such as those presented here, warrant enhanced damages; and, therefore, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Merck Eprova AG v. Gnosis S.P.A." on Justia Law