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3rd Cir. Tosses Anti-Trust Suit Against Sanofi-Aventis, Twists Knife

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on May 09, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Judge Jane Roth of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in New Jersey soundly dismissed the Eisai v. Sanofi-Aventis anti-competition lawsuit in her court when she denounced every one of the characterizations Eisai had used to describe Sanofi's conduct, reports Reuters. Finally, this thing looks put to bed.

It's a major win for the large pharmaceutical company that will be holding the attention of industry regulars for at least a few weeks.

Not Anti-Competitive Behavior

In a brief 28 page opinion, the Third Circuit took each of plaintiff Eisai's claims and rated them as basically meritless. In its original complaint against Sanofi, Eisai alleged that the maker of Lovenex had engaged in anti-competitive behavior in the anti-coagulant drug market when the latter prevented health care providers from replacing Lovenex with alternatives offered by other drug makers.

Eisai's complaint alleged, in rather colorful language, "a campaign of fear, uncertainty, and doubt." Sanofi, Eisai said, had engaged in strong-arm tactics to block competitors from offering alternatives. But the court found that the facts really only exposed aggressive marketing and product pushing.

Rule of Reason, No Broad Harm

Under the rule of reason standard (points for being the most vague of standards), the court found that it could not find a broad harm to the anti-coagulant market. Citing various rationales, the view of the court was that Eisai was actually attempting to benefit competitors, not benefit the overall broad market. And anti-competition laws are supposed to benefit the market as a whole, the circuit said.

The Third Circuit found that Congress could not have intended to give a plaintiff in Eisai's position relief. If there's a harm here, Judge Roth Said, Congress didn't intend to remedy it.

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