AbbVie agrees to pay $54.4 mln in antitrust case over Alzheimer's drug

The logo for AbbVie is displayed on a screen at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, New York, U.S. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
  • Lawsuit accused AbbVie predecessor of entering into illegal deals to stop generic competition
  • Company previously agreed to settle separate direct purchaser claims for $750 million

(Reuters) - AbbVie Inc has agreed to pay $54.4 million to settle a proposed class action brought by health plans that claim they overpaid for the Alzheimer's drug Namenda because of illegal settlements that delayed the launch of generic versions of the drug.

U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon in Manhattan granted preliminary approval to the deal on Monday, saying it was negotiated at arms' length and "falls within the range of possibly approvable settlements."

Lead plaintiff Sergeants Benevolent Association Health & Welfare Fund had said in a filing in Manhattan federal court Saturday that the deal was "fair, reasonable and adequate."

A hearing on final approval is scheduled for March 13, and potential class members will have a chance to object if they do not believe the settlement is fair.

AbbVie and lawyers for the plaintiffs did not immediately respond to requests for comment. AbbVie did not admit wrongdoing.

The 2015 lawsuit accused Forest Laboratories, which is now part of AbbVie, and generic manufacturers of entering into anti-competitive settlements under which the generic companies agreed to refrain from launching their own versions of Namenda until mid-2015 in exchange for payment. The lawsuit claims the settlements were so-called "pay for delay" deals that violated competition laws in 30 states and resulted in higher prices.

The generic companies previously settled with the health plans for a combined $2 million.

Forest was acquired in June 2014 by Actavis Plc, which changed its name to Allergan in June 2015. Allergan was acquired by AbbVie in 2019.

Allergan previously reached a $750 million settlement of antitrust allegations brought by direct purchasers of Namenda, such as drug distributors.

The case is In re Namenda Indirect Purchaser Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 15-cv-06549.

For plaintiffs: Marvin Miller of Miller Law, Peter Safirstein of Safirstein Metcalf, Lloyd Constantine of Constantine Cannon and others

For defendants: Martin Toto of White & Case

Read more:

AbbVie must face health plans’ lawsuit over Alzheimer’s drug

Allergan signs $750 million settlement with purchasers of Alzheimer's drug Namenda

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Brendan Pierson reports on product liability litigation and on all areas of health care law. He can be reached at brendan.pierson@thomsonreuters.com.