On September 1, 2020, the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island approved a trio of settlements totaling $183.5 million between direct purchasers, insurers, and end-payors of Loestrin 24 and Minastrin 24 and Lupin, Warner Chilcott and Watson.
The plaintiffs allege Warner Chilcott engaged in a reverse-payment scheme with generic manufacturers to delay generic entry of Loestrin 24 until 2014, thereby enabling Warner Chilcott to sell Loestrin 24 at artificially inflated prices.
Gilead and the Department of Justice agree to a $97 million settlement based on allegations Gilead violated the False Claims Act. The allegations include that Gilead paid Medicare co-pays for Letairis using a charitable foundation. Letairis had sales of nearly $1 billion a year through 2018, prior to losing patent exclusivity.
Gilead also is facing a new class action in California, alleging a Gilead pay-for-delay with Cipla to delay the generic entry for Truvada. The allegations are Gilead bundled a payment to produce other drugs in order to delay entry. Gilead already faces anticompetitive scheme lawsuits in California in Stanley v Gilead Sciences.
The Security and Exchange Commission announced a record award of $114 million to a whistleblower after their work assisted both an SEC case and a case with another agency. The previous record was $50 million, awarded earlier in 2020.
Since 2012 the SEC has awarded 108 whistleblowers a total of $676 million. SEC whistleblower rewards are paid from monetary sanctions from SEC security violations. Whistleblowers can be awarded 10 to 30 percent of a sanction for their contributions and remain anonymous.
Actavis has agreed to settle claims from direct purchasers of Intuniv that the company used a pay-for-delay scheme to delay generic competition of their attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder drug.
United Healthcare filed a complaint against Merck, Glenmark and Par alleging they conspired to prevent generic competition for Zetia. Previous class actions regarding Zetia pay-for-delay were consolidated in an MDL in the Eastern District of Virginia.
Plaintiffs allege Merck violated antitrust laws by entering into a “reverse payment” agreement in 2010 to delay generic competitors until December 2016. The result was six years of inflated pricing and an illegal payment by Merck to remove the competition and maintain the pricing.
On September 30, 2020, the House Oversight and Reform Committee reported their first findings from an 18-month investigation into drug company pricing practices. The committee found drug companies are taking advantage of the federal law that prohibits Medicare from negotiating lower prices directly with drug companies.
The investigation includes reviews of Teva Copaxone price increases and Bristol Myers Squibb Revlimid price increases. Copaxone pricing was raised 27 times by Teva, raising the price per year of the medication from $10k to $70k. Revlimid price was increased 22 times from $215 to $763.
As seen in Law360, U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe of the Southern District of New York certified a class of up to 200,000 Verizon workers who participated in a Verizon 401(k) plan.
The lawsuit alleges mismanagement of funds in the Verizon 2040 target-date-fund (TDF), specifically Verizon’s Global Opportunity Fund. The complaint alleges that the fund has an “obvious and long-term underperformance over a ten-year period”. The class contains all participants of the 401(k) retirement plan who had saved in the Global Opportunity Fund during the relevant time period. The participation could be direct or indirect and may include up to 200,000 workers.
Todd M. Schneider, partner at Schneider Wallace and one of the attorneys representing the plaintiff, was quoted in Law360 that they “look forward to moving this certified class to trial.”
Todd Schneider discusses the status of ERISA and class action law with Law360. He discusses the Supreme Court’s 2020 ERISA cases, defense efforts to limit ERISA litigation, which cases are ripe to take forward, Schneider Wallace’s 2020 victories in the Eighth Circuit, and the skills needed to be effective in ERISA law today.
Schneider Wallace Cottrell Konecky is tracking major pharmaceutical litigation news for clients and counsel.
In this update, we cover a DOJ False Claims Act complaint against Teva for kickbacks for Copaxone, certification of a class against Merck for Zetia direct purchasers, a settlement by Actavis for Intuniv, certification of a class against Bausch for Glumetza direct purchasers, and denial of a motion to dismiss by Mallinckrodt on Acthar.
A New York federal judge has appointed SWCK and its co-counsel interim lead counsel in a bitcoin market manipulation case against Bitfinex and Tether alleging hundreds of billions in damages. As reported in Law360, U.S. District Judge Katherine Failla picked the Schneider Wallace team from two other sets of legal teams vying for lead plaintiff appointment in the putative class action accusing Tether, the issuer of a “stablecoin” cryptocurrency of the same name, and cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex of engaging in a “part-fraud, part-pump-and-dump, and part-money laundering” scheme that eventually cost cryptocurrency investors hundreds of billions of dollars.