Eleven states and the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit to prevent Google from unlawfully maintaining monopolies through anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and search advertising markets. According to the complaint, Google accounted for almost 90 percent of all search queries in the United States. Google has entered into a series of…
Plaintiff states alleged that defendant, the producer of Lidoderm (pain medication), paid or incentivized generic drug makers to delay entry into market to protect its monopoly on Lidoderm. (“pay for delay”) The settlement agreement, which expires in twenty years, prohibits Teikoku from entering into agreements that restrict generic drug manufacturers from researching, manufacturing, marketing, or selling products for a period of time and requires Teikoku to cooperate in an ongoing investigation into similarly anticompetitive conduct by other drug manufacturers, among other things.
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.
Twenty states filed a federal lawsuit against six generic drug manufacturers, alleging that they entered into long-running and well coordinated illegal conspiracies in order to unreasonably restrain trade, artificially inflate and manipulate prices and reduce competition in the United States for two drugs: doxycycline hyclate delayed release, an antibiotic, and glyburide, an oral diabetes medication. The lawsuit was filed under seal to avoid compromising a continuing investigation. In the complaint, the states allege that the misconduct was conceived and carried out by senior drug company executives and their marketing and sales executives. The complaint further alleges that the defendants routinely coordinated their schemes through direct interaction with their competitors at industry trade shows, customer conferences and other events, as well as through direct email, phone and text message communications. The states further allege that the drug companies knew that their conduct was illegal and made efforts to avoid communicating with each other in writing or, in some instances, to delete written communications after becoming aware of the investigation. The states allege the anticompetitive conduct, including price-fixing and price maintenance, market allocation and other anticompetitive acts, caused significant, harmful and continuing effects in the country’s healthcare system. The states sought an injunction to prevent the companies from engaging in illegal, anticompetitive behavior and also sought equitable relief, including disgorgement. An additional 20 states joined the complaint in March 2017.
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.
Commonwealth of Kentucky ex rel. Beshear v. Marathon Petroleum Co. LP, No. 3:15-cv-00354 (May 12, 2015)
State filed suit against Marathon, alleging Marathon engaged in anti-competitive practices that lead to higher gas prices for Kentucky consumers in violation of state and federal antitrust laws. State alleged that Marathon abused its monopoly position after its merger with Ashland Oil in 1998. The state alleged, among other actions, that Marathon requires some retailers, thought its supply agreements, to purchase 100 percent of their RFG from Marathon, with penalties if the retailers fail to do so. The agreements also prohibit unbranded retailers from challenging Marathon’s pricing. According to the complaint, Marathon further reduces competition by adding deed restrictions to some of the property parcels it sells that prohibit the purchaser of the property from selling gas or operating a convenience store. Some of the restrictions have an exception that will allow for development of a gas station if the station sells only Marathon gas. State sought injunctive relief, civil penalties of $2000 per violation, restitution to citizens and to the state and attorneys’ fees. Defendants moved to disqualify the outside counsel retained by the state on the grounds that the contingent fee arrangement was improper. The court denied Marathon’s motion to dismiss as to the federal antitrust, state antitrust and deceptive practices claims, but denied the state’s unjust enrichment claim because consumers only conferred an indirect benefit on Marathon by buying gasoline at allegedly inflated prices, not a direct benefit.
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.
DOJ and Kentucky alleged that the acquisition by Dairy Farmers of American (DFA) of Southern Belle Dairy would substantially lessen competition for the sale of milk sold to schools in one hundred school districts in eastern Kentucky and Tennessee. The District Court granted summary judgment to DFA and Southern Belle. The government appealed, and the Court of Appeals reversed the grant of summary judgment as to DFA and remanded the case for trial. The Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of Southern Belle, leaving DFA as the only defendant. The parties then reached a settlement requiring DFA to divest its interest in Southern Belle and use its best efforts to require its partner, the Allen Family Limited Partnership (“AFLP”), to also divest its interest in Southern Belle. to Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc.
Two of the three largest waste hauling companies in the U.S. sought to merge. The United States and plaintiff states reached a settlement under which the parties would divest 11 landfills, 8 waste transfer stations and numerous routes within the plaintiff states.
34 states filed suit alleging that Warner Chilcott entered into an illegal agreement with Barr Pharmaceuticals to raise the prices of Ovcon, an oral contraceptive. The lawsuit alleged that after Barr Pharmaceuticals publicly announced that it planned to have a generic version of Ovcon on the market by the end of the year, Warner Chilcott paid Barr Pharmaceuticals $1 million for an agreement designed to prevent Barr’s generic product from coming to market. Under the terms of the alleged agreement, once Barr received FDA approval to market generic Ovcon, Warner Chilcott had 90 days to pay Barr $19 million, after which Barr would refuse to bring the cheaper generic version to the market. The lawsuit alleged that as a result of the agreement, Warner Chilcott paid Barr a total of $20 million to keep it from marketing its generic version of Ovcon. In additon to a payment of $5.5 million, the settlement prohibits Warner Chilcott, for ten years, from entering into any agreement that would have the effect of limiting the research, development, manufacture, or sale of a generic alternative to one of its drugs. Furthermore, Warner Chilcott must provide the states notice of certain agreements it has entered into with generic manufacturers, and must continue to make its records available to the states for inspection to determine whether the company is complying with the terms of the agreement.