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From Antitrust Law Daily, December 8, 2014

Following adverse jury verdict, class of Nexium purchasers argues about entry of judgment

By Linda O’Brien, J.D., LL.M.

Following an adverse jury verdict in a class action by purchasers of the brand drug Nexium against its manufacturer, AstraZeneca, and three generic drug manufacturers for entering into reverse payment agreements to block generic competition, the purchasers filed a motion to allow briefing on the issue of whether judgment should be entered at this time and what form the judgment should be take (In re Nexium (Esomeprazole) Antitrust Litigation, December 8, 2014).

AstraZeneca manufactures the brand drug Nexium and holds several patents relating to the drug. In 2005, generic drug maker Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals filed an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), seeking to market a generic version of Nexium. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories also filed ANDAs, seeking to market generic Nexium. AstraZeneca responded by filing patent infringement suits against the three generic manufacturers. Subsequently, AstraZeneca entered into settlement agreement with the generic manufacturers, which ended the three suits and suspended the entry of generic Nexium into the market.

Wholesale drug distributors, health and welfare funds, and several retailers filed a series of class action suits against AstraZeneca and the three generic drug manufacturers for alleged entering into reverse payment agreements to delay generic competition for Nexium.

Following a six week jury trial in the federal district court in Boston, the jury, while agreeing with the plaintiffs’ contention that the payment to Ranbaxy was large and unjustified, determined that the payment was not unreasonably anticompetitive.

In its memorandum in support of the December 8 motion, the plaintiffs argue that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 58(b) requires that the court approve a form of judgments to be entered and permits parties to propose the form that the court should approve. In this case, there are multiple plaintiffs, various complaints, and certified classes. In light of the answers set forth on the December 5, 2014 jury verdict form, the court would be aided by the parties briefing on whether judgment(s) should enter at this time and, if so, the appropriate form that entry of judgment(s) should take.

Furthermore, the requested briefing schedule would not prejudice the parties, the plaintiffs contend.

Attorneys: Thomas M. Sobol (Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP), David F. Sorensen (Berger & Montague, P.C.), Bruce E. Gerstein (Garwin Gerstein & Fisher LLP), Glen DeValerio (Berman DeValerio), Steve D. Shadowen (Hilliard & Shadowen LLC), Kenneth A. Wexler (Wexler Wallace LLP), J. Douglas Richards (Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll), Jayne A. Goldstein (Pomerantz LLP), Richard Alan Arnold (Kenny Nachwalter P.A.), Barry L. Refsin (Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller, P.A.), and Bernard D. Marcus (Marcus & Shapira LLP) for the plaintiffs.

Companies: AstraZeneca LP; Ranbaxy Laboratories, Ltd.; Ranbaxy Inc.; The Walgreen Company; Rite Aid Corporation; Giant Eagle, Inc.

MainStory: TopStory Antitrust MassachusettsNews

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