District Court Approves Partial Settlement in Surescripts Class Action
On April 19, 2021, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois preliminarily approved a class action settlement by RelayHealth, a subsidiary of McKesson, in an antitrust action alleging that Surescripts monopolized the market for digital transmission of prescriptions to pharmacies.
In this case, the plaintiffs allege that Surescripts violated Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act through among other things anticompetitive agreements with RelayHeatlh and Allscripts, which effectively foreclosed 70 percent of the market for e-prescribing services. The U.S. Department of Health estimated in 2014 that 96% of U.S. community pharmacies were using Surescripts e-prescription product. Surescripts’ 2018 annual noted their network covers “93% of insured patients in our master patient index”, and their 2020 annual report notes prescriber use of e-prescriptions has risen to 84% in the United States, showing the growth of the e-prescription market.
Surescript Dismissal of FTC Lawsuit in D.C. Denied
The Federal Trade Commission sued Surescript in 2019, in the District of Columbia, claiming Surescripts used noncompete deals and illegal threats to corner markets for health providers digitally transmitting prescriptions to pharmacies. The FTC alleges Surescripts grew to nearly 20 billion transactions a year by 2018 through loyalty provisions that froze out competitors for years. The FTC alleges this resulted in higher prices, reduced quality and stifled competition.
Surescripts attempts to dismiss the District of Columbia case was denied in January 2020. “The FTC’s complaint contains sufficient facts to move beyond the pleadings stage,” Bates, a George W. Bush appointee in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, wrote.
April 2021 Settlement Agreement
RelayHealth agreed to pay $10 million to the plaintiff class and to cooperate with the class in its continued prosecution of its claims against the remaining defendants.
The $10 million settlement resolves claims against RelayHealth but claims against Surescripts and Allscripts remain. The original 2019 complaint was dismissed with leave to amend and motions to dismiss the second amended consolidated complaint are pending.
Schneider Wallace – Class Action Law Firm
Schneider Wallace has successfully represented nationwide insurance companies and other sophisticated institutional plaintiffs in recovering overcharging by monopoly pricing, or other price or market manipulation. Schedule an appointment with our legal team to learn more about filing an antitrust lawsuit. Schneider Wallace has offices in California, Texas, North Carolina and Puerto Rico and litigates in jurisdictions throughout the country in state and federal administrative agencies and courts.