State of California ex rel. Becerra v. Watson Laboratories, Inc., No. 17-cv-00562 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 3, 2017)
Plaintiff state filed complaint alleging violations of the Sherman Act and California’s Cartwright Act. the complaint alleged an anticompetitive pay-for-delay agreement with respect to the Lidoderm pain relief patch. According to the complaint, Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. colluded with its competitors and fixed the price of the generic version of the drug.
Watson, which subsequently was acquired by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., allegedly agreed to settle a patent infringement suit with its competitor Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., which was the only producer of the name-brand pain relief patch. Pursuant to the agreement, Endo agreed to allow Watson to sell branded Lidoderm at no cost, if Watson agreed to hold off on its release of a generic version of the drug. Then, when Watson released its generic version, Endo did not release its own generic version for nearly eight months, the suit claims.
According to the complaint, “The threat of generic entry to Lidoderm posed significant financial risks for the company,â€ and “Endo knew that generic competition would decimate its Lidoderm sales and that any delay in generic competition would be highly profitable for Endo, but very costly for consumers.â€
California settled with Endo for a $760,000 payment (not characterized as attorneys’ fees or civil penalties) and an eight-year injunction preventing future pay-for-delay conduct.