Kaplan Fox is a court appointed co-lead counsel for the Direct Purchaser Class Plaintiffs in this litigation. The Plaintiffs allege that the Defendants Pfizer Inc. and Warner-Lambert Co., illegally maintained a monopoly by preventing generic versions of its blockbuster drug, Neurontin, from coming to the market, in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act.
Neurontin is a branded drug that was approved by the FDA in 1993 initially for a very narrow indication, as adjunctive therapy for patients suffering epileptic seizures. Defendants’ patent protection was due to expire in 2000, and several generic drug manufacturers filed abbreviated new drug applications to obtain FDA approval for generic versions of the drug.
In the First Amended and Consolidated Class Action Complaint dated February 14, 2008, Plaintiffs allege that the Defendants engaged in an overarching scheme to delay the entry of generic Neurontin by, among other things, improperly listing a series of patents in the Orange Book as covering Neurontin, delaying the issuance of a third patent solely to obtain an additional 30-month stay of generic approvals under the Hatch-Waxman Act, and commencing and maintaining sham litigations against potential generic competitors, while unlawfully growing the market for Neurontin by engaging in illegal off-label promotion. Indeed, by 2004 Defendants’ total sales of Neurontin in the United States had grown from about $100 million to more than $2 billion per year, with only a small percentage of prescriptions written for the FDA approved uses. Plaintiffs have claimed that, as a result of Defendants’ scheme, generic versions of Neurontin were kept off the market until October 2004, and that, in the absence of generic competition, direct purchasers of Neurontin were forced to pay supra-competitive prices for the drug.
By Memorandum Opinion dated August 28, 2009, Judge Hochberg denied Defendants’ motion to dismiss the complaint, 2009 WL 2751029 (D.N.J. 8/28/09). On January 25, 2011, Judge Hochberg granted Plaintiffs' motion certifying a Class of direct purchasers of Neurontin during the period December 11, 2002 through August 31, 2008. And on August 8, 2013, the Court denied Defendants' and Plaintiffs' cross-motions for summary judgment.
After extensive briefing and discovery, including expert discovery, the parties reached a settlement, under which Defendants shall pay $190 million to resolve all claims by the Class. The settlement received final approval from the Court on August 6, 2014.
The settlement documents are attached below: