By Nate Raymond
Allergan is suing Pfizer to force its larger rival to cover any damages Allergan is forced to pay as a result of hundreds of lawsuits claiming it deceptively marketed an opioid acquired from Pfizer.
In the lawsuit, Allergan said the “primary basis” for the claims against it was the alleged improper marketing and sale of Kadian, a form of morphine, in the years before it gained rights to the painkiller in late 2008.
“But now that more than a thousand lawsuits seek to impose liability for that very marketing and sale, Pfizer has rejected any responsibility to indemnify Allergan,” alleged Allergan Finance, the subsidiary that filed the lawsuit.
Opioids were involved in more than 42,000 overdose deaths in 2016, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
Drugmakers including Allergan, Purdue Pharma, and Endo International are facing a wave of lawsuits by state and local governments accusing them of pushing addictive painkillers through deceptive marketing.
In its complaint, Allergan says the bulk of the lawsuits it faces, seeking to hold it responsible for playing a role in the opioid crisis, primarily relate to improper marketing of Kadian and involve allegations dating back to the mid-1990s.
The drug at that time was owned by Alpharma, which King Pharmaceuticals acquired in 2008, the same year King sold the rights to Kadian to Actavis.
In 2016, Actavis acquired Allergan and took on the company’s name.
Sale of rights to Kadian was a condition of winning US antitrust approval for King’s $1.6bn (€1.4bn) acquisition of Alpharma. Pfizer acquired King in 2010.
Pfizer, with a large facility in Cork, and Allergan, which makes Botox in Westport, are both substantial employers here.
Pfizer failed in a $160bn takeover bid for Allergan in 2016.
Reuters and Irish Examiner