Lawsuit against Abbott for Norvir price hike clears another hurdle
In June, we reported that the Judge hearing the class action lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories for its Norvir price hike had certified the case as a nationwide class action (“Judge certifies class action in Norvir case“). Back in October 2004, PAL member SEIU Health & Welfare Fund filed a class action lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT), alleging that Abbott’s 400% price increase for its HIV/AIDS drug Norvir violated federal antitrust laws. (In re Abbott Laboratories Norvir Antitrust Litigation, Case 4:04-CV-01511)
Abbott Laboratories asked the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for permission to appeal that decision to certify the class. As we explained back in June:
Class Certification is the stage at which the Judge determines whether or not the lawsuit can proceed as a class action or not. Given that any individual patient’s financial harm is comparatively small, class actions are almost always the only way in which illegal pharmaceutical industry behavior such as that alleged in this case can be challenged. The cost of bringing an individual lawsuit to challenge actions such as this would outweigh that individual financial harm by orders of magnitude. Class Actions allow for thousand or even millions of individuals to combine their claims into one lawsuit that challenges the actions that caused harm to all of them….
Class certification is a watershed moment for a class action. If Class certification is denied, that is often the end of the case, since most class actions cannot feasibly be pursued as individual lawsuits. The Judge’s granting of class certification is an important intermediate success in this case.
Last Thursday (9/13), the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Abbott’s request for permission to file an appeal. Thus, the case against Abbott will proceed.
The 9th Circuit’s decision was just an entry on the Court’s docket. The Judge’s Order granting class certification can be found here.