Mounting lawsuits allege AbbVie abused the drug patent system

Multi-story AbbVie building with flags outside
AbbVie's research center in Massachusetts. Photo: AbbVie

AbbVie is facing a growing class-action lawsuit in which unions and municipalities say they have overpaid for the blockbuster drug Humira as a result of AbbVie's "anticompetitive conduct" to keep cheaper alternatives at bay.

The big picture: This has snowballed into a big case, with a lot on the line — both financially and as a referendum on the accusations that pharmaceutical companies manipulate the patent system to preserve monopoly prices for their prized drugs.

Drug executives hedge on lowering prices

The executives 7 pharmaceutical companies sit at a table in front of the Senate.
Executives from 7 drug companies appear before the Senate. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Drug companies have cheered the Trump administration's proposed crackdown on industry middlemen, but some hedged this morning when asked whether that plan would cause them to lower their prices.

The big picture: Pharmaceutical executives have stayed firmly on message even amid some tough questioning from the Senate Finance Committee.