$146M Settlement in Aggrenox Antitrust MDL Gets Preliminary Approval

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Hartford, CT: A $146 million settlement has received preliminary approval potentially ending an antitrust class action lawsuit between direct purchasers of the stroke prevention drug Aggrenox and various pharmaceutical companies. The lawsuit claims that the defendants deliberately blocked generic alternatives to Aggrenox from reaching the market, in an attempt to own market share.

The lawsuit names Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc., which was acquired by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. in 2008; Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc.; and the drugmakers' affiliates as defendants. If approved, the deal would resolve claims brought forward in a lawsuit in 2013 made by direct buyers. It represents just a part of a massive multidistrict litigation accusing Barr Pharmaceuticals of agreeing to delay marketing its generic version of Aggrenox in exchange for a portion of Boehringer’s profits from the blockbuster drug.

According to the MDL, which includes 11 proposed antitrust class actions, Boehringer allegedly organized a $120 million pay-for-delay deal to keep generic versions of Aggrenox off the market.

According to the allegations, the US Food and Drug Administration approved Boehringer’s Aggrenox in 1998, and it proved a massive success, netting $366 million in US sales by 2008. Then, in 2007, when Barr Pharmaceuticals allegedly sought regulatory approval for its generic version of Aggrenox, Boehringer immediately filed a patent infringement suit.

To settle the patent infringement suit, Boehringer allegedly agreed to pay Barr Pharmaceuticals $120 million over a period of seven years and delay the introduction of a generic version of Aggrenox until 2015, according to court documents. Meanwhile, Boehringer granted Barr Pharmaceuticals a license to sell an authorized generic version of Aggrenox immediately, allegedly further suppressing the market for the generic drug, according to the allegations.

According to the terms of the proposed deal, each of the direct buyers will receive a pro rata share of the settlement. The proposed class includes at least 35 members, in 14 states and Puerto Rico. A final fairness hearing is scheduled for December 2017.

The MDL is In re: Aggrenox Antitrust Litigation, case number 3:14-md-02516, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.

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