(Adds company comment)
By Andrew Longstreth
NEW YORK Pfizer Inc has agreed to pay
$190 million to settle a class action lawsuit alleging the
pharmaceutical company took steps to delay market entry of
generic versions of its epilepsy drug Neurontin, according to
court documents filed on Monday.
Lawyers representing a class of Neurontin purchasers
disclosed the terms of the settlement in a motion seeking
approval of the deal that was filed in New Jersey federal court.
The lawsuit, first filed in 2002, alleged that Pfizer took
multiple steps to maintain its exclusivity on the sale of
Neurontin, including sham patent infringement lawsuits and
promotion of the drug for unapproved uses.
Buyers of Neurontin claimed that Pfizer's activity forced
them to pay inflated prices for the drug. Pfizer, which did not
admit to liability or wrongdoing, said in a statement that the
settlement "reflects a desire by the company to concentrate
on its business and the needs of patients and prescribers, while
also reducing the cost and distraction of prolonged litigation."
"We're happy with the result after a long and hard
litigation," said Robert Kaplan, one of the attorneys for the
In 2004, Pfizer agreed to pay $430 million to federal and
state governments and pleaded guilty to criminal charges of
illegally marketing Neurontin, a drug the company obtained with
its 2000 acquisition of Warner Lambert Corp.
The case is In re Neurontin Antitrust Litigation, No.
02-1390, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey.
(Reporting by Andrew Longstreth; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)