In March, Chief Judge William E. Smith of the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island preliminarily approved a $120 million settlement for direct purchasers of the birth control pills Loestrin 24 Fe and Minsatrin 24 Fe. See Order, In re Loestrin 24 Fe Antitrust Litig., No. 1:13-MD-2472 (D.R.I. Mar. 23, 2020). The antitrust case alleged that the pharmaceutical manufacturer Warner Chilcott engaged in patent fraud to gain protection for Loestrin 24 Fe, paid off would-be competitor Watson to delay its launch of less expensive generic Loestrin 24 Fe, and then finally discontinued Loestrin 24 Fe and switched the market to Minastrin 24 Fe before generic versions of Loestrin 24 Fe could launch.
The settlement follows nearly seven years of hard-fought litigation, including a trip to the First Circuit, which ultimately decided that the Supreme Court case FTC v. Actavis, 570 U.S. 136 (2013) covers non-cash reverse payments. See In re Loestrin 24 Fe Antitrust Litig., 814 F.3d 538 (1st Cir. 2016). The first direct purchaser action over Loestrin was filed in May 2013—over a month before the Supreme Court’s landmark Actavis decision. A hearing for final approval of the settlement is scheduled for August 2020. Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP serves as Co-Lead Counsel for the Direct Purchaser Class.