- Written by GlobalData's infectious disease analyst, Dr Brad Tebbets.
A federal judge has decided to give a group of doctors their day in court after finding that they have sufficient standing to proceed with their antitrust suit against Sanofi. Last December, the physicians filed suit alleging that Sanofi, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, used its size to monopolize the United States meningococcal vaccine market. Meningococcal disease, which is caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis, results in life-threatening meningitis and bloodstream infections. It is especially common in adolescents 16 through 21 years of age. Consequently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that all 11 and 12-year-olds receive a meningococcal vaccine, which has created a stable market for vaccine manufacturers. Sanofi was the only provider of meningococcal vaccines, such as Menomune (meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine) and Menactra (meningococcal conjugate vaccine), in the United States until 2010, when Novartis received FDA approval for Menveo (meningococcal conjugate vaccine). Within two years, Novartis captured 20% of the $700m US market.