|WASHINGTON, DC — Celgene Corporation agreed to pay $55 million to settle a class action lawsuit over its efforts to block generic competition in order to repeatedly raise prices on two key cancer drugs. Celgene’s practices were alleged to have cost cancer patients and taxpayers millions of dollars.
David Mitchell, who is in continuous treatment for the incurable blood cancer multiple myeloma, was the lead patient plaintiff for the class. Separately, Mitchell founded Patients For Affordable Drugs (P4AD), which is the only national patient organization focused exclusively on policies to lower drug prices.
“Celgene Corporation has abused patients and taxpayers for years,” Mitchell said. “This settlement will provide some restitution for those who paid too much for Celgene’s cancer drugs.”
Celgene’s behavior has been documented by news media and exposed and criticized by the FDA. Congress is advancing legislation to stop Celgene’s abuses and new laws are expected to be in place by the end of the year.
Mitchell was joined in the lawsuit by the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craft Workers Local 1 Health Fund, the City of Providence, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 39 Health and Welfare Trust Fund, The Detectives’ Endowment Association, and New England Carpenters Health Benefits Fund.
The suit alleged that Celgene had monopolized the market for Thalomid and Revlimid, causing the prices for the two drugs to be higher for consumers and insurers than they would have been in a competitive market.
The lead counsel in the suit—Hausfeld LLP, Block & Leviton LLP, and Hach, Rose, Schirripa & Cheverie LLP—are seeking preliminary approval of the settlement by the court in the District of New Jersey. If approved, a formal notice program will proceed to notify class members.
Mitchell said that he will donate any settlement funds he may personally receive to Patients For Affordable Drugs to help continue the fight for lower drug prices.
David Mitchell entered into this lawsuit as an individual, not on behalf of Patients For Affordable Drugs.