Perspective

Allergan wins lawsuit against Imprimis, but jury awards only $48,500

A federal jury has ordered Imprimis Pharmaceuticals to pay $48,500 in damages to Allergan, far less than Allergan was seeking, for lost business due to false advertising by the compounding company.

In the lawsuit against Harrow Health Inc., formerly known as Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, Allergan requested damages of more than $7.2 million in lost profits and as much as $54 million in profit disgorgement, according to a Form 8-K filing to the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission by Harrow Health.

The case, which was tried in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, found “the Company was liable for lost profit damages in the amount of forty-eight thousand five hundred dollars ($48,500) and zero dollars ($0.00) for disgorged profits,” according to the SEC filing.

A federal jury has ordered Imprimis Pharmaceuticals to pay $48,500 in damages to Allergan, far less than Allergan was seeking, for lost business due to false advertising by the compounding company.

In the lawsuit against Harrow Health Inc., formerly known as Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, Allergan requested damages of more than $7.2 million in lost profits and as much as $54 million in profit disgorgement, according to a Form 8-K filing to the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission by Harrow Health.

The case, which was tried in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, found “the Company was liable for lost profit damages in the amount of forty-eight thousand five hundred dollars ($48,500) and zero dollars ($0.00) for disgorged profits,” according to the SEC filing.

    Perspective
    John A. Hovanesian

    John A. Hovanesian

    If only there were simple answers to the problem of high drug prices – an issue that is boiling over as the U.S. grapples with unsustainable health care cost acceleration. There's a sympathetic cause to be found on both sides of this lawsuit. Allergan, a long-time innovator in eye care whose social contract is meant to address drug costs, was faced with extraordinary regulatory costs in bringing new products to market and marketing them to physicians. The company argued that it has been undercut by false advertising from a compounding pharmacy, Imprimis, whose non-FDA approved formulations of FDA approved drugs were being sold to patients at far lower prices. Imprimis, a high-quality compounder with an excellent track record of safety, markets its services to physicians in response to growing consumer demand for more convenient (multiple drugs in one bottle) and less costly medications. In the end, the jury showed faint sympathy to Allergan with a $48,500 award for lost profits, which equals 1/10,000th of Allergan's $46 billion market capitalization and maybe around 1% of the legal costs to bring the suit. More importantly, it suggests a path forward for compounding pharmacies and a significant competitive headwind for traditional drug makers.

    • John A. Hovanesian, MD, FACS
    • OSN Cataract Surgery Section Editor

    Disclosures: Hovanesian reports he is a consultant for Allergan.