6 April 2020Americas

Shkreli wants Thiola antitrust claims thrown out

Notorious ‘pharma bro’ Martin Shkreli and his former drug company  Retrophin wants antitrust claims filed against them in federal court dismissed.

Shkreli is currently serving a seven year prison sentence for securities fraud, but still faces civil antitrust claims from Spring Pharmaceutical, which claims it was unfairly blocked from entering the market for generic versions of  Thiola (tiopronin).

Thiola is used to treat cystinuria, a rare disease which causes kidney stones.

In 2014, Retrophin, of which Shkhreli was then CEO, purchased the rights to thiola and raised the price by 2000%.

Spring alleged that Shkreli and Retrophin, both named separately as defendants, along with co-defendants Mission Pharmaceutical and Alamo Pharma Services, formed a monopoly for Thiola by refusing to sell samples to generic manufacturers.

In doing so, claimed Spring, the defendants blocked any generic competition from coming to market.

In a submission filed at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on Wednesday, April 1, Retrophin claimed that Spring was “nothing more than a legal vehicle created to pursue this litigation”.

Shrekli added his name to those claims by joining in Retrophin’s motion to dismiss.

According to Retrophin, Spring has no standing to bring an antitrust suit because it was formed just weeks before filing the action and has never developed a drug product.

In other words, argued Retrophin, Spring was effectively just a front to bring the lawsuit, rather than a genuine maker of generic pharmaceuticals.

Shkreli departed Retrophin in 2014, and went on to found Turing Pharmaceuticals in February 2015. He generated further controversy by raising the price of antiparasitic drug Daraprim (pyrimethamine) by 5000%, and was arrested on charges of securities fraud later that year.

He is currently facing a  separate lawsuit filed by US regulators who accuse him of monopolising the market for Daraprim.

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