Author: Schneider Wallace
On December 10, 2021, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (“BCBS Minnesota”), on behalf of a putative class of health care end payors, announced a settlement in principle with Vyera Pharmaceuticals, LLC (“Vyera”) and two of its executives, including Martin Shkreli, over their alleged anticompetitive conduct to protect exorbitant price increases for Daraprim.
The Court found that, while an antitrust defendants’ share of the relevant market is typically used as evidence of monopoly power, this is not necessary in the highly-regulated market for pharmaceuticals. The allegations provided sufficient evidence to create a genuine dispute of material fact as to whether Ranbaxy maintained monopoly power due to its first-filer status and the resulting exclusionary periods. This would give Ranbaxy the ability to reduce or destroy competition in the relevant market.
On November 17, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas granted final approval of a $345 million settlement by Pfizer with a class of purchasers of EpiPen. The purchaser class alleged that Pfizer and Mylan schemed to inflate the price of the EpiPen, an emergency injectable allergy treatment.
On November 4, 2021 the end-payor class in antitrust litigation alleging anticompetitive conduct in the market for combination antiretroviral therapy (“cART”) drugs announced a $10 million settlement with Defendants Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and E.R. Squibb & Sons, L.L.C. (“BMS”).
Two U.S. subsidiaries of Indian pharmaceutical company Sun Pharma announced preliminary settlements with a putative class of direct purchasers in the generic price-fixing multidistrict litigation pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Taro Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Inc. will pay a total of $85 million to resolve the direct purchaser claims.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) finished fiscal year 2021 with record breaking rewards, paying a combined $564 million. The SEC also reached a new high for total whistleblower award recipients at 108 individuals.
The SEC whistleblower reward program is a program authorized by Congress to reward individuals who bring forward information about security fraud or other wrongdoing resulting in SEC sanctions and recoveries. After the SEC secures a sanction or verdict, whistleblowers can receive a portion of the sanction. This program is intended to entice those with knowledge of wrongdoing to step forward and reveal information to government agencies.
Residents of assisted living facilities operated by Aegis Senior Communities LLC (Aegis) will share in a settlement fund of $16.25 million awarded as part of a class action settlement approved by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on August 23, 2021.
On October 27, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey dismissed an antitrust lawsuit brought against Janssen by a class of indirect purchasers of the drug Zytiga, Janssen’s blockbuster prostate cancer drug. Because the plaintiffs were indirect purchasers of Zytiga, the court found that their federal Sherman Act antitrust claims must be dismissed under the direct purchaser requirement established by Illinois Brick v. Illinois.
On October 19, 2021, United HealthCare Services, Inc. filed a direct action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota alleging an anticompetitive conspiracy to monopolize the market for combination antiretroviral therapy (“cART”) drugs used to treat HIV infection. The complaint echoes the allegations made in class action complaints and retail pharmacy complaints pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
On October 13, 2021, Allergan announced a $30 million preliminary settlement with a certified class of end payors of Allergan’s dry-eye drug Restasis. Approximately 18 months ago, Allergan had settled four direct purchaser actions for a total of $51 million.