Endo, others to pay $270.8 mln to resolve Lidoderm U.S. antitrust cases

(Reuters) - Endo International Plc and two other companies have agreed to pay $270.8 million to resolve class action lawsuits alleging Endo paid a generic drug manufacturer to delay launching a cheaper version of its Lidoderm painkiller patch.

The accords were disclosed in papers filed in federal court in San Francisco on Tuesday and resolve claims centered on a deal Endo reached in 2012 to settle a patent infringement case it filed against generic drugmaker Watson Pharmaceuticals.

The case is among several in recent years targeting “pay-for-delay” settlements, in which brand-name drugmakers resolve patent lawsuits by paying generic manufacturers to keep their products off the market for a longer period.

Endo has agreed to pay a combined $100 million to resolve claims brought by separates classes of direct purchasers of Lidoderm like retailers and so-called end payors for the medication like consumers and insurers.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, which owns Watsons’ generics business, has agreed to pay $112 million, a sum that is part of the $157 million the Israeli company in February disclosed it would pay to settle the litigation.

Teikoku Seiyaku Co, a Japanese drugmaker that manufactures Lidoderm for Endo to sell in the United States, will pay $58.75 million, according to court papers.

The settlements are subject to court approval. Matthew Maletta, Endo’s chief legal officer, in a statement called the settlement “a significant milestone in Endo’s multi-year turnaround plan.”

Teva in a statement said it was “in the company’s best interest to resolve this matter and to focus on our mission of providing innovative and affordable medicines to people around the globe.”

Representatives for Teikoku and the plaintiffs did not respond to requests for comment.

The litigation centered on a settlement that was reached in 2012 after Endo and Teikoku sued Watson for patent infringement after it had applied to the Food and Drug Administration to market a generic version of the patch.

As part of the May 2012 settlement, Watson agreed to delay launching its generic Lidoderm until September 2013, about two years before the patent expired, the lawsuit said.

In exchange, Watson received $96 million in free product and the promise that Endo would not release an authorized generic version of the drug until nearly eight months after Watson began selling its version, the plaintiffs said.

They claimed the deal violated antitrust laws and prevented them from being able to purchase cheaper, generic versions of Lidoderm.

The case is In re Lidoderm Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 14-md-2521.

Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Lisa Shumaker