Outside Publication

Circuit Court Sprawl in the Age of Civil RICO Causes of Action: Proximate Cause and the Dilemma Facing the Third-Party Payor Prescription Drug Industry, Rutgers Business Law Review, Volume 16

January 15, 2021

This Note will address five-circuit court split spanning ten years, a split between the Second and Seventh Circuits, and the First, Third and Ninth Circuits. The nature of this circuit split concerns civil Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) causes of action against prescription drug manufacturers brought on by Third-Party Payors. The fundamental issue in contention is whether the presence of intermediary players--like physicians in their individual prescription practices, Pharmacy Benefit Managers, and Pharmacy & Therapeutics Committees in their drug formulary customization - sever the causal chain between a pharmaceutical drug manufacturer's alleged misrepresentation and an injury asserted by Third-Party Payors in the form of payments for the prescription drugs.

This Note contends that the rationale of the Second and Seventh circuit courts is more in-line with Supreme Court precedent than the competing views from the First, Third and Ninth Circuit courts. That is, the presence and actions of intermediary players within the causal sequence attenuate the relationship between the alleged injury and the alleged civil RICO violation, eliminating proximate causation and precluding Third-Party Payors from pursuing civil RICO remedies.