The lawsuit, which has been going on for five years, was filed by a group of health care providers who alleged that Sanofi used its market power to impose bundling-pricing contracts. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed the drug company held a dominant position in five pediatric vaccine markets, including a complete monopoly with quadrivalent meningococcal vaccine Menactra from 2005 to February 2010, when a competitor was introduced. At that point, Sanofi began bundling Menactra with other pediatric vaccines and substantially increasing the prices.
According to the suit, Sanofi customers who bought a certain percentage of all four pediatric vaccines received a “loyalty discount” that reduced prices back to where they had been prior to the entry of the Novartis’ vaccine onto the market. Customers who did not buy enough of the four vaccines allegedly paid much more, according to the suit.
The lawsuit had sought to represent more than 26,000 physicians who purchased Menactra from Sanofi between March 1, 2010, and when the alleged illegal conduct stopped. The suit received class certification in September 2015. The class was defined as anyone who purchased Menactra directly from Sanofi or its subsidiaries such as VaxServe Inc.
The potential settlement comes in advance of a trial, and has yet to receive approval.
The case is Castro v. Sanofi Pasteur Inc., case number 2:11-cv-07178, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.