Glaxo settles antitrust actions

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Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to settle with plaintiffs for a total of more than $195 million over allegations that it monopolized the market for its nasal spray Flonase.

In one case, the plaintiffs -- American Sales, Meijer and Meijer Distribution -- agreed on behalf of their class to settle the class action for $150 million. Counsel intends to seek up to one-third of the total settlement for attorney fees, according to court papers.

In a second case, the class representatives -- including a variety of health plans and medical mutual plans -- agreed to settle their indirect purchaser class action for $35 million.

The plaintiffs in that case are both consumers and third parties who paid for, or reimbursed consumers' use of Flonase, or its generic equivalents.

Glaxo, which employs about 450 people in the Pittsburgh area, also agreed to settle for $11 million claims from over 30 large commercial health insurers.

U.S. District Senior Judge Anita B. Brody of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania is presiding over the cases and must approve the settlements.

"Plaintiffs allege that defendant caused the class to pay more for branded and generic Flonase through unlawfully delaying the sale of generic [Flonase] after the period of exclusivity expired on May 14, 2004," court papers said.

"In addition, plaintiffs allege the defendant impeded the generic from entering the market."

Glaxo denied the plaintiffs' allegations in the settlement papers.

"GSK has concluded, despite its belief that it is not liable for the claims asserted and that it has good defenses thereto, that it would be in its best interests to enter into this settlement to avoid further expenses, inconvenience, uncertainties of, and risks and delays associated with [the] distraction of burdensome and protracted litigation," one of the settlement agreements said.

A spokesman for Glaxo said, "GSK is pleased to have reached amicable resolutions with the two classes of plaintiffs in the Flonase antitrust litigation, both the direct purchaser plaintiffs and the indirect purchaser plaintiffs."

legalnews

Amaris Elliott-Engel: aelliott-engel@alm.com or 215-557-2354. To read more articles like this, visit www.thelegalintelligencer.com.


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