Reuters reported yesterday that a federal judge has signed off on Pfizer’s $345 million settlement resolving claims by consumers who overpaid for their EpiPens due to the company’s anti-competitive practices.
EpiPen is a brand of epinephrine auto-injector manufactured by Pfizer for use in life-threatening anaphylactic emergencies. At the time, it was a must-have medication for people with food allergies in a market with few alternatives.
Plaintiffs in the case accused Pfizer and Mylan — the marketer of the device — of engaging in anticompetitive practices to maintain a monopoly on the epinephrine auto-injector market including paying generic manufacturers to delay launching competing products. The price of EpiPen rose six-fold from $100 in 2008 to over $600 in 2016.
One-third of the total award — $115 million off the top — will go to the law firms that represented consumers in the class action suit. US District Judge Daniel Crabtree said yesterday the fee was appropriate in light of the lawyers’ “skill and zeal” in litigating the class action.
Pfizer said in a statement it was pleased with the deal’s approval, and denied wrongdoing, according to Reuters.
Mylan — now known as Viatris after a merger with Pfizer’s Upjohn generics business — agreed in 2017 to pay $465 million to settle related claims by the US government. The company remains defendant in the class action scheduled to go to trial in January.
While it is as yet unclear how much individual consumers can expect to recoup from the Pfizer settlement, one thing is certain: the law firms litigating the case on behalf of allergic consumers are the big winners.