AG Madigan’s brief in Rauner-linked baby heart drug lawsuit

By DOUG IBENDAHL • October 22, 2014


Yesterday we reported on a pharmaceutical company formerly owned by Bruce Rauner and his GTCR pals which raised by 1,300% the cost of a life-saving drug used to treat a heart condition in premature babies.


The company, then known as Ovation Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in Deerfield, Illinois was acquired by GTCR in 2002. GTCR sold Ovation in March of 2009 for $900 million to Denmark-based H. Lundbeck A/S.


In Federal Trade Commission v. Ovation Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the FTC accused Ovation of price gouging and violating antitrust laws. The federal lawsuit was filed in 2008.


Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, along with nine other state attorneys general, filed a Brief of Amici Curiae (otherwise known as a “friend of the court” brief) in support of the FTC’s complaint. You can read the entire brief HERE.


The other attorneys general joining Attorney General Madigan were from Arkansas, Iowa, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and West Virginia.


As we told you yesterday, despite the FTC’s extremely serious concerns in this matter, the agency’s complaint was ultimately dismissed by the federal court. But it should be noted the court was not ruling on the 1,300% price increase. That fact was not disputed. Instead the court’s ruling was based on technical analysis of other market factors under the antitrust law.


However, the court ruling does not take away from the fact that Rauner and his fellow GTCR principals made the conscious decision to personally profit from an enormous increase in the cost of a crucial life-saving baby heart drug.


U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn) summed it up perfectly, stating: “A company like Ovation knows that when it comes to saving a baby’s life, price is no object. They banked on that, literally.”


We will have more on this developing story later today regarding Rauner’s former company’s settlement of a related price gouging and antitrust violation lawsuit over the same baby heart drug.


Doug Ibendahl is a Chicago Attorney and a former General Counsel of the Illinois Republican Party.


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