Monopoly Has Stranglehold on Radiopharmaceuticals, Suit Claims

Plaintiffs in an anti-trust suit in U.S. District Court in Mobile say one of the largest makers of radiology medicine in the country is using illegal monopoly powers to tighten its hold, hike prices and even prohibit health providers from lowering costs by conservation of radiopharmaceuticals.

Defendant in the case is Canadian company Jubilant DraxImage Inc., a major supplier of low-level radioactive medicines essential to diagnosis and treatment using imaging devices. Treatments are often for cancer.

Plaintiffs are IonSouth-Mobile LLC and UPPI LLC. Ionsouth, based in Mobile, is an independent nuclear pharmacy — a specialized pharmacy that prepares patient-ready doses in response to hospital or imaging center orders. UPPI is the largest association of independent and institutional nuclear pharmacies in the country, with 70 members, including IonSouth.

A big part of Jubilant’s monopoly clout, say the defendants, came with Jubilant’s 2017 purchase of the nation’s second largest network of nuclear pharmacies, Triad Isotopes Inc., whose 50 members were absorbed into Jubilant’s main business of nuclear medicine manufacturing.

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Plaintiffs say Jubilant has increased prices for three key products and, to ensure those products are the only options available, has bought up and warehoused two new potentially competitive products.

Jubilant’s attorneys have filed a motion to dismiss, claiming plaintiffs are poor competitors lacking in innovation.

Plaintiffs also say Jubilant uses its leverage to force independent nuclear pharmacies to sign an agreement that they will not use “fractionalizing” procedures to save and conserve Jubilant-bought products.

According to the plaintiffs, Jubilant’s practices have become the focus of an anti-trust investigation by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs include Douglas McCoy, with the Mobile firm Hand Arendall, and attorneys with Arnall Golden Gregory, in Washington D.C. and Labaton Sucharow, in New York City.

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