Maryland joined four other states and the Federal Trade Commission in announcing a $100 million settlement Wednesday with Mallinckrodt ARD Inc., formerly known as Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc., for allegedly monopolizing the market for a lifesaving drug called Acthar.
Acthar is a therapeutic adrenocorticotropic hormone, or ACTH, and is used to treat infantile spasms, a rare but devastating neurological disease; nephrotic syndrome, a kidney disorder; and multiple sclerosis.
The lawsuit alleged Questcor blocked competition for its ACHT drug, HP Acthar Gel, by acquiring U.S. rights to Synacthen Deport, the only other ACTH drug sold in the world.
Questcor acquired Acthar in 2001, when the drug cost $40 a vial. In 2012, Questcor offered Novartis Pharma A.G. $135 million for Synacthen, far outbidding three other companies. Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh said this was to protect Acthar's monopoly.
In addition to the settlement money, Frosh said the company is now required to transfer Synacthen to another company and market it in competition with Acthar.
"It is outrageous that Questcor blocked competitors from entering the market for ACTH in order to continue charging unconscionably high prices to consumers with life-threatening diseases," Frosh said in a statement. "This settlement will introduce competition into the market to keep prices more reasonable."
The other states involved in the lawsuit were Alaska, New York, Texas and Washington.
Mallinckrodt said in a statement that, "We are pleased to confirm that we have entered into a settlement agreement with the FTC staff to fully resolve this matter."