Processing Magazine

Abbott Ordered to Pay Glaxo $3.5 Million in Suit

March 31, 2011
Abbott Laboratories must pay GlaxoSmithKline $3.5 million in damages for breaching an agreement over an AIDS drug, reports Bloomberg. The jury cleared the company of claims that it sought to stifle competition over HIV drugs when it quadrupled the price of its AIDS medicine Norvir in 2003. A federal jury in Oakland, Calif., rejected claims that Abbott tried to maintain an illegal monopoly, while finding the company breached an agreement with Glaxo that allowed Glaxo to promote its AIDS drugs for use with Norvir, a boosting agent for other HIV drugs. Glaxo’s lawyers argued at trial that the price increase meant that other drugmakers couldn’t compete with Abbott’s Kaletra AIDS medicine, which includes Norvir. The London-based drugmaker claimed it lost an estimated $570 million in profit on sales of its drug Lexiva, which uses Norvir, because it sold at half the rate the company expected. Glaxo was seeking damages of triple those losses at trial. Abbott’s attorneys told the jury that the company increased Norvir’s prices for legitimate business purposes. Even with the higher price, Kaletra lost market share and had only 30 percent of the market for similar drugs, the company has said. Abbott increased the wholesale price of a Norvir capsule containing 100 milligrams from $1.71 to $8.57, the Illinois-based company said in court documents.

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