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Plaintiffs' lawyers seek $113 mln fee in Glumetza pay-for-delay case

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The logo of Lupin, India's No. 2 drugmaker, is seen on the facade of its pharmaceutical plant in Verna, in the western state of Goa, India, June 9, 2017. Picture taken June 9, 2017. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

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  • Firms call 25% share of settlements "presumptively reasonable"
  • Plaintiffs said Indian drugmaker was paid to delay generic -
  • Resulting in tenfold price spike for diabetes drug

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(Reuters) - Lawyers for purchasers of the diabetes drug Glumetza have asked a judge to approve a fee award of about $113 million after securing more than $453 million from Bausch Health Companies Inc, Lupin Pharmaceuticals Inc and Assertio Therapeutics Inc to settle claims of anticompetitive practices related to the blockbuster drug.

The plaintiffs' firms - Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, Hilliard Shadowen and Sperling & Slater - said in a motion filed Wednesday in San Francisco federal court that the award reflected a "presumptively reasonable" 25% cut of the deal, and was supported by the large recovery and the substantial work they had done on the case.

Glumetza, an extended-release version of the widely used drug metformin, was first marketed in 2005 by Assertio, then called Depomed Inc, and Santarus Inc, which was later acquired by Bausch.

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The purchasers claimed in their class action lawsuit that Depomed and Santarus in 2012 paid off Lupin, an Indian generic drugmaker, to delay launching a generic version of Glumetza until 2016 by agreeing to drop a patent lawsuit and provide other benefits.

The resulting monopoly allowed Bausch, then called Valeant Pharmaceuticals, to hike the drug's price in 2015 to $51 per tablet, from $5.72, they said.

In September, Bausch settled for $300 million, with Lupin for $150 million and Assertio for $3.85 million. The much smaller settlement with Assertio reflects the company's "precarious financial situation," according to Wednesday's motion.

The case is In re Glumetza Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, No. 3:19-cv-05822.

For the purchasers: Lauren Barnes and Shana Scarlett of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, Joseph Vanek of Sperling & Slater and Steve Shadowen of Hilliard Shadowen

For Bausch: Daniel Asimow of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer

For Assertio: Eric Stock of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

For Lupin: Jay Lefkowitz and Devora Allon of Kirkland & Ellis

Read more:

Bausch to pay $300 mln in antitrust suit over diabetes drug

Lupin agrees to pay $150 mln to settle Glumetza antitrust claims

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Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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

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