Federal Trade Commission issued civil subpoenas to J&J as part of an investigation whether its blockbuster drug violated antitrust laws

Civil subpoenas were issued by FTC to J&J in June as part of scrutiny into whether contracting practices for its bestseller rheumatoid arthritis drug, Remicade, violated antitrust laws, the firm stated in a regulatory filing on Monday.

Firm’s shares traded slightly down at $132.47, after having closed up 1.7 percent on Monday.

According to Johnson & Johnson, the Federal Trade Commission had issued a “civil investigative demand,” which is the equivalent of a subpoena for determining if the contracting practices were legal.

A lawsuit was filed by the Pfizer Inc. against Johnson & Johnson in 2017, stating that its contracts of its competitor with health insurers for bestseller rheumatoid arthritis drug, Remicade, were anti-competitive & targeted at blocking sales of Pfizer’s biosimilar called Inflectra.

Pfizer stated in the lawsuit that Johnson & Johnson had contracted with plenty of insurers to give discounts in exchange for giving preference to Remicade and pay for Inflectra only in the cases where Remicade proved to be ineffective. Inflectra got approval in 2016 while Remicade went on the market in 1998.

Remicade is used for the infused treatment for chronic autoimmune disorders & costs around $4,000 per dose which is equivalent to $26,000 a year, Pfizer stated in the lawsuit.

It was said by Pfizer in a statement that it had received a civil investigative demand in June. The firm said that as Pfizer’s complaint alleges, Johnson & Johnson’s unlawful conduct is designed for preventing Inflectra from being able to vie on its primary point of differentiation; price. Today, Inflectra has an average selling price which is over 22 percent lower than Remicade. In spite of these facts, Johnson & Johnson has not lost considerable volume or share of sales counter to what should occur in a competitive market.