Judge denies attempt to dismiss pay-for-delay class action Posted 08/12/2017

A federal judge ruled on 3 November 2017 against a motion by three drugmakers to shut down antitrust litigation involving the Lidoderm (lidocaine) pain patch.

In their motion to the Northern District of California for summary judgment, Teikoku Pharma USA (Teikoku), Watson Pharmaceuticals (now Actavis) and Endo International (Endo) called for an end to the multidistrict lawsuit. However, Judge William H Orrick ruled that there was enough evidence to show that Watson could have won the patent infringement trial had they not settled.

The plaintiffs, a group of patients and buyers of the Lidoderm pain patch, claim in the lawsuit that Teikoku and Endo reached an improper US$266 million deal with Watson, which is now an Allergan subsidiary, in a patent infringement lawsuit to delay the launch of generics of the blockbuster anaesthetic. The Lidoderm buyers sued the drugmakers back in 2014, alleging that the agreements constituted illegal ‘pay-for-delay’ arrangements that violate competition law. They also argued that without the ‘pay-for-delay’ deal, generics of Lidoderm would have been on the market as early as 23 August 2009. However, despite Watson having a generic version ready, patients and payors were still paying a premium price for Lidoderm in 2012. For the 12 months ending 31 March 2012, Lidoderm had total US sales of approximately US$1.2 billion, according to IMS Health data [1].

Launched in 1999, Lidoderm was the first prescription, topical, hydrogel patch approved in the US for post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN). Lidoderm provides analgesia (without anaesthesia) directly to the affected nerves.

The trial is currently set to be heard on 16 January 2018.

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FDA approves lidocaine ointment generic from Vitruvias Therapeutics

Reference
1. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Endo to buy specialty generic drugmaker Boca Pharmacal [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2017 Dec 8]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Pharma-News/Endo-to-buy-specialty-generic-drugmaker-Boca-Pharmacal

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Source: Cohen Milstein, Labaton

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