Impax settles sellers’ antitrust cases over generic drug’s delay

BOSTON, March 26 (Reuters) – Impax Laboratories Inc has reached a mid-trial settlement with sellers consisting of CVS Health Corp and Rite Aid Corp who implicated the drugmaker of participating in an anticompetitive deal to postpone releasing a generic, cheaper variation of acne medication Solodyn.

The deal, revealed in papers filed in federal court in Boston on Sunday, dealt with only part of the lawsuits now entering its 3rd week of trial. Impax still deals with claims by a class of customers and insurance companies.

The settlement dealt with claims by retail pharmacy operators consisting of CVS, Rite Help, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc, Kroger Co, Albertsons Companies Inc and HEB Grocery Business LP. Terms were not divulged.

Impax, which in October accepted integrate with Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLC, did not react to an ask for remark on Monday. Lawyers for the sellers either declined to comment or did not respond to ask for remark.

The trial is among a handful to have occurred because the United States Supreme Court in 2013 said so-called “pay-for-delay” settlements dealing with pharmaceutical patent lawsuits can violate antitrust laws.

The settlements take place when a brand-name drugmaker pays a generic competitor to delay launching a less expensive version of its product in exchange for dealing with court difficulties to patents covering the treatment.

Inning accordance with the plaintiffs, Impax in 2008 settled a lawsuit it submitted challenging a weak patent Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp held for Solodyn by accepting postpone launching its generic version up until 2011.

In exchange, Impax got $40 million, permitting Medicis to maintain its Solodyn monopoly longer, the plaintiffs declare. For that settlement, Impax would have introduced its generic version “at-risk” while the litigation continued, they say.

Impax’s legal representatives have actually rejected that there was any such arrangement to delay competition.

They note the United States Food and Drug Administration did not authorize Impax’s drug until after the settlement in February 2009 and say its handle Medicis allowed it to release a generic variation prior to its patent expired in February 2018.

“How can that be postponed entry?” Douglas Baldridge, a legal representative for Impax, asked in his opening statement on March 12.

Jurors will only identify liability, leaving damages to be decided at a future trial.

Impax formerly consented to pay $35 million to resolve claims by a class of sellers and wholesalers.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc, which in 2012 gotten Medicis, in February stated it would pay $58 million to fix related claims. (Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston Editing by Susan Thomas)