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29 May 2017Americas

Pfizer asks district court to exclude expert testimony in competition case

Pfizer has filed a motion to exclude a declaration and testimony supporting a class of direct purchasers that have accused it of anti-competitive conduct.

The motion was filed on Wednesday, May 24, at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia Norfolk Division.

In 2014 Pfizer was sued in a class action by American Sales Company on behalf of generic companies which claimed to be affected by Pfizer’s alleged anti-competitive conduct.

Pfizer’s patent for its painkiller Celebrex (celecoxib) was invalidated by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in 2008.

The class action suit claimed that in order for Pfizer to “avoid the consequences” of the patent invalidation, Pfizer implemented a scheme to prolong patent protection for celecoxib.

It alleged that “Pfizer sought from the US Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) reissuance of the defunct method-of-use patent by claiming that its earlier applications for the patent contained unintentional ‘errors’ needing ‘correction’ in light of the Federal Circuit ruling”.

The complaint added that Pfizer “bombarded” the USPTO with false information, as well as a great amount of “irrelevant material”.

But according to Pfizer, the plaintiff’s expert witness Jeffrey Leitzinger had opinions which were “fatally flawed”.

“He ignores critical facts showing that generic-only purchasers, brand-only purchasers, and even some purchasers of both generic and brand Celebrex were not impacted by the alleged delay in generic entry.”

Pfizer added that his opinion which states that a class-wide impact can be shown with common evidence is “unreliable” and “irrelevant”.

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