Endo Accused of Conspiring to Delay Generic Opana

Endo International Plc units were accused in a lawsuit of paying Impax Laboratories Inc. more than $112 million to keep their generic version of Endo Opana ER opiate off the market from June 2010 to January 2013.

The class-action antitrust case was filed today in federal court in Chicago by a Farmingdale, New York-based construction workers’ health and welfare fund.

The fund accused two U.S. units of Dublin-based Endo of using the time it allegedly bought with the Impax payment to “switch the market for Opana ER” to a new and opioid-abuse resistant formulation without losing a vast majority of its sales to Impax’s U.S. Food & Drug Administration-approved equivalent.

“Endo literally bought itself freedom from generic competition,” the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 138 Welfare Fund said in the complaint.

The organization, suing on behalf of people or entities that directly or indirectly paid for Opana or FDA-approved versions containing the same active ingredient, seeks unspecified money damages, which would be tripled under federal antitrust laws.

The FDA last year rejected the Irish drug maker’s request it prevent manufacturing of a generic form of the painkiller that lacks its tamper-resistant qualities.

Opioid abuse killed more people in 2010 than cocaine and heroin combined, according to a 2012 report issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Heather Zoumas-Lubeski, a spokeswoman for Malvern, Pennsylvania-based Endo Health Solutions, didn’t immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment on the lawsuit.

Mark Donohue, a spokesman for Haywood, California-based Impax, didn’t immediately reply to a voice-mail message seeking comment on it.

The case is International Union of Operating Engineers Local 138 Welfare Fund v. Endo Health Solutions, 14-cv-07742, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

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