California judge slims UnitedHealth's lawsuit against Gilead, Teva over HIV drugs

A federal judge has dismissed parts of a UnitedHealth Group subsidiary's lawsuit against Gilead Sciences and Teva Pharmaceuticals, challenging the cost of HIV medications.

United HealthCare Services filed suit against the pharmaceutical companies last year. A slew of other insurers including Blues plans, Aetna, Centene and Humana have also sued the drugmakers over the pricing of their HIV therapies.

UHS challenged Gilead and Teva on multiple states laws, some of which the California court tossed and some it kept in play. For example, the insurer sued under Pennsylvania's Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, which the court allowed to move forward.

The drug companies argued that purchases made for business, including those by doctors for their practices, do not fall under that law. The court did not agree and allowed this charge to move forward.

"Although Defendants’ argument here is not entirely lacking in merit, the Court is not persuaded," according to the filing.

Challenges based on Indiana and Louisiana state laws were also upheld.

The court did dismiss counts based on Mississippi, Massachusetts, Kansas and Vermont, as well as federal antitrust charges for purchases made prior to Oct. 19, 2017.

The judgments, according to the order, are largely based on other similar cases with different buyers. The case is moving forward alongside other similar challenges from insurers across the country.