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Heritage Pharma sues over container of refrigerated drugs knocked into river

Generics maker Heritage Pharmaceuticals has filed a federal lawsuit after a supply chain mishap involving a crane at the Port of Norfolk, Virginia, that dunked a container of drugs into a river. (Norfolk International Ports)

A refrigerated container of drugs was rolling on the river last year when a supply chain mishap resulted in eight shipping containers falling like dominoes from a ship into the Elizabeth River in Virginia. Now Heritage Pharmaceuticals wants reimbursement.

The Eatontown, New Jersey-based drugmaker has filed a federal lawsuit in the Eastern District of Virginia seeking $220,000. The lawsuit names logistics Agility Logistics, Hapag-Lloyd America and Virginia International Terminals.

“We are not seeking an ad agency for our prescription opioids and we have no plans to do direct-to-consumer advertising for Adhansia XR. Our efforts for Adhansia XR will be focused on responsible and transparent interactions with the professional community to address needs in the existing population of appropriately-diagnosed patients. Ensuring the responsible prescribing and use of Adhansia XR is a priority,” the Purdue spokesperson told FiercePharma by email.

The drugmaker says it was moving 562 packages of pharmaceuticals in a refrigerated container, including diabetes meds Glipizide and Metformin. They were in a container on a ship that arrived in the Norfolk port from India in July 2018. The Virginian-Pilot reported last year that the incident occurred when a spreader bar from the crane hit several containers and then eight containers toppled “like dominoes” into the water. The suit says the drugs were a complete loss.

Heritage itself figures prominently in an investigation by states and the Justice Department into alleged pricing fixing of generic drug prices. In 2017, Heritage Pharma’s former CEO Jeffrey Glazer and former president Jason Malek reached settlements to pay $25,000 and cooperate with the ongoing investigation, which has roped in some of the biggest names in the generics business.

In January, UnitedHealthcare leveraged the work done by the states to file a 355-page lawsuit that names dozens of drugmakers for colluding on drug prices.