March 31, 2011
In Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday, a 10-member federal jury rejected GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) antitrust claim that Abbott Laboratories had quadrupled the price of its HIV drug Norvir in order to preserve the sales growth of its HIV drug Kaletra.
Norvir is used in drug cocktails because it can boost the effectiveness of other HIV medications. Abbott's combination pill Kaletra includes Norvir as a component. GSK maintained that Abbott raised the price of Norvir 400 percent in 2003 to hurt the sales of competing drugs that are typically administered with Norvir.
The jury did award GSK $3.4 million for its breach of contract claim, but Abbott spokesperson Adelle Infante said the company may appeal that judgment. "However, the jury's awarding of $3.4 million in damages, instead of the $571 million that GSK was asking for, confirms our view that GSK's alleged damages were inaccurate and inflated," she said.
GSK spokesperson Marc Meachem said the company was disappointed but accepts the verdict. "We continue to believe that Abbott did not act in the best interest of those living with HIV," Meachem said.
Several retail chains, including CVS Caremark and Safeway, had been trying the case with GSK but accepted undisclosed settlement offers from Abbott during the trial.
03.30.2011; Dan Levine
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