GSK Sued For Fraudulently Delaying Generic Version Of Wellbutrin

A class action lawsuit has been filed accusing GlaxoSmithKline of lying to the Patent office and dickering with fake patent litigation against generic drug makers to fraudulently stymie generic versions of Wellbutrin from hitting the market. The lawsuit applies to people who directly bought Wellbutrin from GSK in 100 or 150mg hits between Jan 24, 2002 and June 30, 2006. Obviously, the long GSK could keep a generic version of their drug off the market, the more money they could make. People interested in joining could probably contact the firm of Roda and Nast, lead plaintiff team, for more information.

Antitrust Class Action Certified Against GlaxoSmithKline [Law.com]
(Photo: Fujoshi)

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  1. azntg says:

    Too bad the lawyers will make off with most of the money and the plantiffs are likely to get a couple good for a 10% discount on any genuine GSK(TM) product.

  2. dragonfire81 says:

    Don’t think GSK is the only pharma company who does this kind of stuff.

    Pharmacuetical companies are among the suckiest, most evil corrupt corporations in america.

    Their are interest not in making patients well, but with piling as many pills into our hands as they possibly can.

  3. Buran says:

    @azntg: Or, with luck, the judge will order the generics cleared for sale immediately, and you can then start saving money — and maybe if you’re lucky get a refund from GSK for the difference you paid from illegally being forced to pay more.

  4. azntg says:

    @Buran: What exactly are the chances of that happening, considering the track record of previous litigations and settlements for similar cases? Slim or none.

  5. Buran says:

    @azntg: Buh? How exactly have previous judges not ruled that, once found guilty of doing something illegal, you must immediately stop?

  6. OK, since I can’t pull up the article, is this covering all Wellbutrin, or just the XL? There has been a XL generic, but many people complain it’s shite, which is why I haven’t switched to the Generic. From what my Dr. originally told me, GSK bought the company that made the tablets, thus making the pill their property, but not the drug itself. The XL pill will make it all the way through your system, and can be found floating in the toilet sometimes(that was in the product brochure).

  7. katekate says:

    When I was extremely poor and without health insurance, GSK gave me Wellbutrin for free. They’re still evil, but endeared themselves to me in that way.

  8. @katekate: I had a similar situation, but then I became un-employed. They stopped giving it to me free/low cost then, b/c I couldn’t “prove” that I was below the low income threshold since I couldn’t prove a “zero” income.

  9. katekate says:

    @Git Em SteveDave: Ugh, that’s awful. I wasn’t employed at the time, either, but probably because I had a worker’s comp claim pending after I got hit by a car at work, that was enough proof of zero income.

  10. Blame the FDA!

  11. katekate says:

    @Git Em SteveDave: from the article: In their motion for class certification, the plaintiffs team urged Senior U.S. District Judge Bruce W. Kauffman to certify the case on behalf of direct purchasers who bought the 100 mg or 150 mg dosage of Wellbutrin directly from GSK between Jan. 24, 2002 — the date on which the suit says generic entry would have occurred but for GSK’s allegedly anticompetitive conduct — and June 30, 2006, the date on which prices allegedly stabilized at competitive levels.

    Also, before I was aware of being able to get it for free, I remember running into the problem of not being able to get generic Wellbutrin in the correct dosage from Wal-Mart with the $4 generics thing (I think I was on 150mg at the time). Jerks.

  12. @katekate: They were fine while I was on un-employment. But as soon as THAT ran out, they cut me off, b/c w/o a income, I couldn’t prove I was “poor”.

  13. katekate says:

    @Git Em SteveDave: That’s terrible, since that’s when you’d need it for free the most. I’m back to thinking they’re entirely evil again.

  14. @katekate: So is it the XL? I could get generic Welbutrin in it’s other forms for a long time, but when my Dr. put me on the XL, there was no generic, as GSK owned the pill, and wouldn’t license it. They have an XL generic now, but I have read bad stuff from people who take it. That’s why I get my XL through other means to get it cheap, as I still don’t have health insurance, and won’t use the generic.

  15. katekate says:

    @Git Em SteveDave: No, I think it’s all kinds of Wellbutrin. It doesn’t say in the article WHEN they’re alleging GSK did this, but it seems like eventually GSK did allow for the generics, but simply should have sooner.

  16. darkryd says:

    Speaking of corrupt pharma companies, another company – Genentech got their start by stealing medical research from University Labs.

    They were merely given a slap on the hand for it.

  17. b-real says:

    @dragonfire81:

    I agree that pharmaceutical companies want to protect their product (read: investment) at all costs, I wouldn’t use a term like “evil” to describe them. From the time that a compound is researched to the time it hits the market, it takes 15 years and $900 MILLION. That’s why they do stuff like this, to recoup that money and to further along R&D on other compounds. I’m not an apologist for pharm companies, but I can see both sides of the argument. And no matter how you slice it, without their product, many people’s lives would be worse off.

  18. azntg says:

    @Buran: Through appeals.

    From what I see, it seems like most class actions get settled rather than actually go on trial… with the customers losing out big time.

  19. pegr says:

    Wait, GSK has been ripping me off for years? That’s so depressing…

  20. JiminyChristmas says:

    The lawsuit was filed by direct purchasers of Wellbutrin; which I assume means health insurer formularies, hospitals, etc. Where that leaves the individual consumer, I have no idea. And it’s not as if consumers don’t directly bear the costs too. If your Rx copays are based on a percentage of the cost, you’re paying for it. Also, the name brand/generic difference is just enormous sometimes. I take one medication that went from $90/month to $8/month when it switched to generic. So there is a lot of money at stake.

  21. Vandon says:

    In this case, it looks like the enemy of our enemy are our friends. Hate the insurance companies, but they’re the ones who are going to make the drug companies come down on prices.

  22. Buran says:

    @azntg: Just filing an appeal doesn’t mean you win. Lots of appeals get denied.

  23. katekate says:

    @b-real: The fact that some people, myself included, would be dead without certain prescription drugs means they shouldn’t be so fucking expensive.

  24. Oh No I Di'n't. says:

    I’m thinking that it is probably Wellbutrin and not XL given the dates on the case. Although, I’m not sure, so any insight into this would be great.

  25. @katekate: If it wasn’t profitable, the companies would go out of business. They have to be able to expect some form of profit for the drugs they produce. For all of the medicines which work really well, there are MANY more which fail, which still cost money to research. I’m not trying to be an apologist, but there are some companies which never produce a successful drug, and go out of business. You can’t tell a business it can’t earn money off a certain drug, but they can another.

  26. Silverage says:

    There is a 300mg version of the XL available. The 150mg Xl version, which is much more widely used, has never been released. Has to make you wonder why only 1 strngth is available.

  27. SammyD1st says:

    The fact that some people, myself included, would be dead without eating food means that people should just give food to me.

  28. Parting says:

    @SammyD1st: How would you like being charged 400$ for your sandwich? And have your price raised 20%-40% a year? Does that put that in perspective?

  29. Kay Bee says:

    Provigil should have had a generic in 2006. …Cephalon quickly made up the ‘grain size’ excuse, and said that requalifies Provigil for a patent.

  30. @Victo: How much did it cost to develop, test, market, and produce the sandwich, also remembering that drugs have a shelf life, and have to be constantly produced, so as the price of the raw materials goes up, so must the price. Otherwise the sandwich company loses all money and no one will get the sandwich.

  31. camille_javal says:

    @katekate: I think it’s just XL – there was generic bupropion before that. I actually went on the SR twice-a-day formula for a while because it had a generic; unfortunately, I discovered *why* people take the XL (mood swings).

    I’m on the generic XL – I haven’t really noticed a difference. Of course, being cheered by the money I save getting it generic may help balance the difference. I’m also a small person, and medications effect me a lot, so it may be that the generic is sufficient for me.

  32. Parting says:

    @Git Em SteveDave: If companies invested less in marketing… Did you see last year net profits. £22.7billion, which is approximately 50 BILLION in USD.

  33. Parting says:

    @Git Em SteveDave: Also, price of raw materials didn’t go up, as much as GlaxoSmithKline raised prices.

  34. mikelotus says:

    At least we know under President Obama, the DoJ will go after this.

  35. Parting says:

    @Victo: Sorry, my mistake :

    GlaxoSmithKline : sales = £22.7 billion
    net profit for 2007 = £7.8 billion

    Which equals to 33% NET profit.

  36. Parting says:

    @mikelotus: Off topic, but have you noticed that in all alien/catastrophe movies president portrayed either black or women. Just saying.

  37. b-real says:

    @katekate: @Victo:

    You guys don’t understand the complex nature of this business. A big part of the reason why drugs in the U.S. are more expensive than in other countries is because other countries can negotiate low prices directly with drug companies. The U.S. doesn’t/won’t, so the free market determines price. Add to that the fact that for every drug that successfully enters the market, there are thousands that fail. Quite simply, since a company doesn’t know when – or even if – the next big drug will come along, it has to maximize profits from their current portfolio. Whether or not this practice is moral is up to you to decide. But remember, most drug company profits go directly back into R&D for new compounds. Less profit = less R&D and fewer drugs in the pipeline.

  38. mike says:

    I’m not ashamed to say that I take Wellbutrin for anti-anxiety. It’s one of the best drugs I’ve taken. Wellbutrin 300mg, for those that don’t know, has been available as generic for a long time. I don’t know why the other doses aren’t.

    My health care company has a teired prescription structure. Different “classes” of medications are at different prices. Regardless of generic or brand, I still pay the same amount for Wellbutrion.

    I think the problem is going to be more on the side of health care companies. I called them up one day and asked them why they don’t offer an incentive for folks to get generic. They just said it’s because it’s teired.

    So I purposely get brand name. It’s sad…

  39. @Git Em SteveDave: I dunno, the ones that are funded by federal research grants paid for by taxpayers — I feel really okay telling drug companies they can’t make absurd amounts of money off those. It’s not like they paid for the research, and for all the “wah wah wah research” claims, more money is spent on marketing than R&D at major drug companies anyway.

  40. thalia says:

    WTF, how do I get in on this? My doctor at the campus health department prescribed me the XL back in ’06, told me she was giving me the generic stuff and that it would be cheap, so I swipe my student card and end up paying over $130 for a bottle of 30 300mg tablets that didn’t even work!

  41. mikelotus says:

    @linus: I took it to counter the sexual side effects of another medication. It worked real good. My wife has never been the same.

  42. IQTech says:

    There is a generic version of Wellbutrin. It was created by Teva Pharmaceuticals and it has been on the market since sometime in 2007 or 2008. Every person who was switched from the name brand to the generic experienced symptoms of anxiety and hypo-mania as well as paranoid ideations. All of these symptoms are the opposite of depression.

    The reason is that while GSK Wellbutrin XL is absorbed at about 8 1/2% over 12 hours, Teva’s generic is absorbed at a whopping 43% in the first hour. It enters the body too quickly and leaves it too quickly, first tossing you into an over-dosage situation then into withdrawal. Can you imagine what would happen if someone released an insulin pump that behaved this way? It would be yanked off the market immediately. The FDA’s response to reports of adverse reactions is to recite the mantra that it is not uncommon for symptoms of depression to occur even while on medication. Translation: we know better than you do what is good for you so take your generic and shut up.

    Yet the FDA insists that Teva’s formula is the bio-equivalent of GSK’s formula. Unfortunately, insurance companies will only cover the generic. If you want the name brand, you must pay the difference – as much as $300 for a thirty day supply. That’s ten dollars a pill and at that rate, they had better be gold plated!

    Suing GSK now will only give them more incentive to try to prevent the creation of generic drugs.