Market Extra: AbbVie says it will appeal $448 million antitrust judgment

AbbVie Inc. says it will appeal a $448 million judgment filed by the Federal Trade Commission, alleging that the pharmaceutical manufacturer and its partner overcharged consumers for a testosterone drug.

“We are disappointed by the ruling. We believe our conduct was lawful and the damages award is improper. We intend to appeal,” said an AbbVie spokeswoman, Toni Haubert in an emailed statement to MarketWatch.

In 2014, the FTC charged that Chicago-based AbbVie and its partner Besins Healthcare Inc. blocked consumer access to lower-cost versions of the testosterone replacement drug AndroGel.

The FTC accused AbbVie of using “sham litigation” to maintain its monopoly. AbbVie has previously denied the allegations and the breakdown of relief between AbbVie and Besins wasn’t immediately clear. “This decision is a double victory, both for patients who rely on AndroGel and for competition more broadly,” said FTC chairman Joe Simons in a statement on Friday.

“It sends a clear signal that pharmaceutical companies can’t use baseless litigation to forestall competition from low-cost generics.”

The decision handed down in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania is the largest monetary award in a litigated FTC antitrust case, the agency said.

AbbVie stock ABBV, +0.24% closed up 0.2% to $92.65 on Friday. AbbVie shares are down 4.2% this year, while the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.08% gained 1.7%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.23% lost 1.8%.

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