Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that Texas, the Federal Trade Commission and four state attorneys general reached a $100 million settlement with Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. over a lawsuit accusing Questcor of monopolizing the market for Achthar, the only adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)-based therapeutic drug sold in the United States. Questcor allegedly blocked competition for Acthar by disrupting the bidding process and acquiring the U.S. rights for Synacthen Depot, the only other ACTH-based drug sold in the world.
In 2001, Questcor bought the rights to Acthar and increased the price of it by 85,000 percent, charging over $34,000 for a vial of the drug that used to cost $40 per vial. In 2012, Novartis Pharma A.G sold the U.S. rights of Synacthen to Questcor, which ensured that none of its rivals would sell Synacthen in the U.S. market and allowed Questcor to maintain the high price of Acthar.
“Questcor intentionally extended its monopoly over ACTH-based therapeutic drugs, which it used to exploit the sick and the dying,” said Attorney General Paxton. “Their shameful conduct stands miles apart from what is expected of responsible companies, much less ones operating in the health care market.”
In addition to paying $100 million in disgorgement, Questcor must transfer Synacthen to a firm that will have the incentive to develop and market the drug in the U.S.
Texas is joined by the attorneys general of Alaska, Maryland, New York and Washington in entering into this settlement.