On April 21, 2017, Judge Ronald L. Styn of the Superior Court of California granted final approval to a $225 million settlement with Barr Laboratories in the Cipro Antitrust litigation. Lieff Cabraser and co-counsel represent California consumers and third party payors in the class action lawsuit charging that Bayer Corporation, Barr Laboratories, and the HMR Defendants colluded to block consumer access to affordable, generic versions of Cipro through a massive $398.1 million payment by Bayer to Barr and other generic drug makers.
The Court previously approved settlements with Bayer and the HMR Defendants, which total $174 million. The Class’s total recovery in the litigation will be $399 million. The amount exceeds the payment Bayer made to Barr and to the HMR defendants not to compete, and is approximately $68 million more than Plaintiffs’ damage estimate. Eric B. Fastiff, Lieff Cabraser partner and Chair of the firm’s Antitrust practice group, noted that this is an exceptional result for the Class. “It’s a huge victory for California consumers and third-party insurance providers,” said Fastiff.
As noted by the Daily Journal, the case’s long path to resolution related in part to the evolution of the underlying law itself, as enactment of the pro-generic drug federal Hatch-Waxman Act aided the plaintiffs’ case. “Though the law allowed for generic makers a faster means to market, it also had unintended consequences of allowing generic competitors to be essentially bribed,” the Journal observed. “For a long time,” explained Fastiff, “these payoffs were not considered illegal because they were consistent in the scope of the patent as long as the patent was valid. This case showed such conduct is illegal and was illegal. We considered it a bribe.”
As Judge Styn noted in his Order, “I think this is an extraordinary case. I am not aware of any case that has taken roughly 17 years, where there was an appeal of the class certification, where there was a grant of summary judgment against the plaintiffs that was affirmed on appeal, and that it wasn’t until the U.S. Supreme Court basically changed the law in this area and that appeal was prosecuted in the California Supreme Court, that the law changed, and then the case continued to be prosecuted where the settlement exceeds the wildest projections of the plaintiffs’ expert … and, further, where it looks like the claimants will get a basically 100 cents on the dollar [and] where the fund is large enough to pay, in full, every claim received.”
Read a copy of Judge Styn’s Final Approval Order and Judgment.