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Allergan Accused of Blocking Rivals

June 12, 2002|From Bloomberg News

Allergan Inc. has been accused in a lawsuit of using its patents and litigation to block low-cost rivals of its $250-million-a-year glaucoma treatment Alphagan.

Alphagan user Jean Loman, who filed the suit, seeks class-action status to represent others who bought Alphagan since March.

The suit says the Irvine eye-care and skin-care company improperly sought patents in an effort to block generic competition.

Allergan's general counsel, Douglas Ingram, called the lawsuit "frivolous."

The suit was filed after U.S. District Judge David Carter in Santa Ana dismissed Allergan's patent-infringement claims against generic-drug makers Bausch & Lomb Inc. and Alcon Laboratories Inc., a unit of Swiss food maker Nestle.

Allergan sued the companies after they sought Food and Drug Administration approval to sell generic versions of Alphagan.

Allergan's "baseless patent-infringement litigation is delaying and preventing the entry of generic formulations of Alphagan into the United States market," according to Loman's suit, filed June 6 in federal court in Santa Ana.

Ingram said Allergan's suits had no effect on the FDA's review of the applications by Bausch & Lomb and Alcon.

"No generic version of Alphagan would have been on the market even without the lawsuits," Ingram said.

Allergan stock fell $1.80 to $61.15 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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