Plaintiff states alleged that the makers of Suboxone, a drug used to treat opioid addiction, engaged in a scheme to block generic competitors and raise prices. Specifically, they are conspiring to wtich Suboxone from a tablet version to a flim in order to prevent or delay generic entry. The states allege that the manufacturers engaged in “product hopping” in which a company makes slight changes to its product to extend patent protections and prvent generic alternatives. The complaint was filed under seal.
In May 2015, the FTC settled a “pay-for-delay” suit against Cephalon for injunctive relief and $1.2 billion, which was paid into an escrow account. The FTC settlement allowed for those escrow funds to be distributed for settlement of certain related cases and government investigations. In August 2016, forty-eight states filed suit in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Cephalon alleging anticompetitive conduct by Cephalon to protect the profits it earned from having a patent-protected monopoly on the sale of its landmark drug, Provigil. According to the complaint, Cephalon’s conduct delayed generic versions of Provigil from entering the market for several years. The complaint alleged that as patent and regulatory barriers that prevented generic competition to Provigil neared expiration, Cephalon intentionally defrauded the Patent and Trademark Office to secure an additional patent, which a court subsequently deemed invalid and unenforceable. Before it was declared invalid, Cephalon was able to use the patent to delay generic competition for nearly six additional years by filing patent infringement lawsuits. Cephalon settled those lawsuits by paying competitors to delay sale of their generic versions of Provigil until at least April 2012. Consumers, states, and others paid millions more for Provigil than they would have had generic versions of the drug launched by early 2006, as expected. A settlement was filed with the complaint, which includes $35 million for distribution to consumers who bought Provigil.
The US and plaintiff states sued to block the merger of two of the country’s largest health insurers. The complaint alleges that their merger would substantially reduce competition for millions of consumers who receive commercial health insurance coverage from national employers throughout the United States; from large-group employers in at least 35 metropolitan areas, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver and Indianapolis; and from public exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act in St. Louis and Denver. The complaint also alleges that the elimination of Cigna threatens competition among commercial insurers for the purchase of healthcare services from hospitals, physicians and other healthcare providers. According to the complaint, the merger would eliminate substantial head-to-head competition in all these markets, and it would remove the independent competitive force of Cigna, which has been a leader in the industry’s transition to value-based care. the court granted the injunction. Anthem appealed to the DC Circuit, which affirmed the district court.
Plaintiff states entered into settlement agreement with Natixis Funding Corp. for fraudulent and anticompetitive conduct in municipal bond derivative transactions with state and local government entities and nonprofits across the country. Natixis will pay $29,950,000 as part of a coordinated 22-state and private class settlement. The funds will mostly be applied to restitution for municipalities, counties, government agencies, school districts and nonprofits that the states allege were harmed when they entered into municipal derivatives contracts with Natixis. In 2008, the plaintiff states, in parallel with the U.S. Department of Justice and federal regulatory agencies, began their investigation of the municipal bond derivatives market. In these markets, tax exempt entities such as municipalities, school districts, and nonprofit organizations issue municipal bonds and reinvest the proceeds until the funds are needed or enter into contracts to hedge interest rate risk. These investigations revealed anticompetitive and fraudulent conduct involving individuals at a number of large financial institutions, including Natixis, and certain brokers with whom they had worked. Certain Natixis employees and their counterparts at other institutions rigged bids, submitted noncompetitive courtesy bids and fraudulent certificates of arms-length bidding to government agencies. The misconduct led local and state governments, as well as nonprofits, to enter into municipal derivatives contracts on less advantageous terms than they would have otherwise. Natixis agreed to pay $23.4 million into a settlement fund and $1.5 million to the attorneys general as an additional payment. Natixis also agreed not to submit non-competitive bids or refrain from bidding on, or coordinate the preparation of bids for municipal derivatives and to cooperate with ongoing investigations.
Plaintiff states entered into settlement agreement with Societe Generale for fraudulent and anticompetitive conduct in municipal bond derivative transactions with state and local government entities and nonprofits across the country. Societe Generale agreed to pay $26,750,000 as part of a coordinated 22-state and private class settlement. Pursuant to the settlement, this money will mostly be applied to restitution for municipalities, counties, government agencies, school districts and nonprofits that the states allege were harmed when they entered into municipal derivatives contracts with Societe Generale. In 2008, plaintiff states, in parallel with the U.S. Department of Justice and federal regulatory agencies, began their investigation of the municipal bond derivatives market. In these markets, tax exempt entities such as municipalities, school districts, and nonprofit organizations issue municipal bonds and reinvest the proceeds until the funds are needed or enter into contracts to hedge interest rate risk. These investigations revealed anticompetitive and fraudulent conduct involving individuals at a number of large financial institutions, including Societe Generale, and certain brokers with whom they had worked. Certain Societe Generale employees and their counterparts at other institutions rigged bids, submitted noncompetitive courtesy bids and fraudulent certificates of arms-length bidding to government agencies. The misconduct led local and state governments, as well as nonprofits, to enter into municipal derivatives contracts on less advantageous terms than they would have otherwise. Societe Generale agreed to pay $25.1 million into a settlement fund to provide restitution for injured parties and $1.4 million to the attorneys general as an additional payment. Societe Generale also agreed not to submit non-competitive bids or refrain from bidding on, or coordinate the preparation of bids for municipal derivatives and to cooperate with ongoing investigations.
Eighteen plaintiff states and the FTC challenged the merger of Dollar Tree, the largest chain of “dollar” stores (deep discount stores) and Family Dollar Stores, the nation’s third largest dollar store chain. The complaint claimed the proposed acquisition would substantially lessen competition in numerous markets by: (1) eliminating direct and substantial competition between Dollar Tree and Family Dollar; and (2) increasing the likelihood that Dollar Tree will unilaterally exercise market power. This, according to the complaint, would violate Section 7 of the Clayton Act and each state’s applicable antitrust and consumer protection laws. The states sought a permanent injunction to prevent the merger, along with costs and attorney fees. The parties reached a settlement under which 330 stores in the 18 states would be divested to Sycamore partners and run as a new dollar store chain, Dollar Express. The agreement also required the defendants to report future acquisitions in any of the affected markets and to pay over $865,000 to reimburse the costs and fees of the plaintiff states.
The FTC and states alleged that the companies had entered into a “pay-for-delay” arrangement, whereby Perrigo paid Alpharma to withdraw its generic version from the market for Children’t ibuprofen.According to the complaint, in June 1998, Perrigo and Alpharma signed an agreement allocating to Perrigo the sale of OTC children’s liquid ibuprofen for seven years. In exchange for agreeing not to compete, Alpharma received an up-front payment and a royalty on Perrigo’s sales of children’s liquid ibuprofen. The FTC received $6.25 million to compensate injured consumers. The states received $1.5 million in lieu of civil penalties. the parties were enjoined from future agreements.
SCI, the nation’s largest funeral home chain, sought to acquire Stewart Enterprises, another large funeral home chain. Seven states and the FTC entered into consent agreements with SCI specifying which funeral homes would be divested in 59 separate markets. In a separate consent agreement, SCI agreed to provide the state plaintiffs with the same notices, requirements for approval and compliance review as to divestitures and future acquisitions included in the FTC’s consent decree and to pay the state’s costs and attorneys’ fees..
US DOJ and plaintiff states filed a complaint in federal court challenging the proposed merger between American Airlines and U.S. Airways. The complaint alleged the proposed merger would result in decreased competition, higher airfares and fees, reduced service and downgraded amenities. The dollar impact nationwide could exceed $100 million a year. The merger would make a combined U.S. Airways/American Airlines the largest worldwide carrier and reduce the number of the larger “legacy” airlines from four to three – U.S. Airways/American, United/Continental and Delta/Northwest – and the number of major airlines from five to four. If the merger were approved, the three remaining legacy airlines combined with Southwest Airlines would account for more than 80 percent of domestic travel. American Airlines is U.S. Airways’ chief competitor in the marketplace, meaning that the merger will likely only serve to increase fares and fees. Texas settled its case, entering into an agreement under which the merged airlines would maintain their operations at Texas airports, maintain DFW as a hub, and maintain its corporate headquarters in the Dallas area. DOJ and the remaining states reached settlements with the merging parties. The settlement requires US Airways and American to divest or transfer to low cost carrier purchasers approved by the department: 1) All 104 air carrier slots (i.e. slots not reserved for use only by smaller, commuter planes) at Reagan National and rights and interest in other facilities at the airport necessary to support the use of the slots; 2) Thirty-four slots at LaGuardia and rights and interest in other facilities at the airport necessary to support the use of the slots; and 3) Rights and interests to two airport gates and associated ground facilities at each of Boston Logan, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas Love Field, Los Angeles International and Miami International. The settlement reached by the states requires maintenance of existing hubs in those states, consistent with their historical operations, for three years, and continued daily service for five years to each airport in the affected states that American and US Airways serviced at the time of filing.
TTexas and Connecticut led 33 state group that filed complaint charging three of the nation’s largest book publishers and Apple Inc. with colluding to fix the sales prices of electronic books. The States undertook a two-year investigation into allegations that the defendants conspired to raise e-book prices. Retailers had long sold e-books through a traditional wholesale distribution model, under which retailers, not publishers, set e-book sales prices. The states alleged that Penguin, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan conspired with other publishers and Apple to artificially raise prices by imposing a distribution model in which the publishers set the prices for bestsellers at $12.99 and $14.99. When Apple prepared to enter the e-book market, the publishers and Apple agreed to adopt an agency distribution model as a mechanism to allow them to fix prices. To enforce their price-fixing scheme, the publishers and Apple relied on contract terms that forced all e-book outlets to sell their products at the same price. Because the publishers agreed to use the same prices, retail price competition was eliminated. According to the States’ enforcement action, the coordinated agreement to fix prices resulted in e-book customers paying more than $100 million in overcharges. The States’ antitrust action seeks injunctive relief, damages for customers who paid artificially inflated prices for e-books and civil penalties. Case was filed in W.D. Tex., transferred to S.D.N.Y. as consolidated case. The States reached settlements with the five publishers, which granted E-book outlets greater freedom to reduce the prices of their E-book titles. Consumers nationwide received a total of $164 million in compensation. After entering into settlement agreement with all the Defendant publishers, DOJ and the states had a nearly 3 week trial against Apple in June 2013, during which numerous witnesses took the stand. On July 10, 2013, a decision was handed down in favor of the U.S. Department of Justice and the states against Apple. Trial of the damages phase is pending. United States et al. v. Apple, Inc., 12-CV-2826 (S.D.N.Y.).