A federal appeals court has upheld a 2014 jury verdict in an antitrust lawsuit involving Nexium. According to court documents, the original complaint had accused AstraZeneca PLC and Ranbaxy Laboratories’ of striking an illegal deal to delay the launch of a generic version of Nexium
AstraZeneca markets Nexium, a proton pump inhibitor used to treat GERD and other ailments related to the excess production of stomach acid. In 2015, the popular medication generated more than 10% of the company’s revenue.
In 2012, a class action lawsuit was filed in Massachusetts federal court alleging that AstraZeneca had paid Ranbaxy $7 million to drop a challenge to its Nexium patents, thus delaying launch of a generic version. The lawsuit went to trial in 2014, and was the first “pay-for-delay” case to go before a jury in the wake of a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision which held that deals involving a “large and unjustified” payment from a brand-name manufacturer to a generic drug maker might violate antitrust lawsuits if it suppresses competition. While the jury hearing the case did find that AstraZeneca had made a large and unjustified payment to Ranbaxy, jurors were unable to conclude that any of the class members were actually harmed by the deal.
The class members appealed the verdict, arguing that the jury was prevented from hearing certain arguments and evidence, and was given improper instructions. But last month, a panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to overturn the jury’s decision.
Despite this victory, AstraZeneca’s legal woes involving Nexium are far from over, Court documents indicate that a number of product liability claims involving Nexium’s alleged link with kidney failure, chronic kidney disease and other renal complications are now pending in U.S. courts, with more filings expected. Other proton pump inhibitor manufacturers are facing similar claims. In October, a motion was as filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to centralize all such federal filings in a single U.S. District Court for the purposes of coordinated pretrial proceedings.
Plaintiffs who favor centralization assert that the proton pump inhibitor litigation could ultimately include thousands of cases. They maintain that centralization will promote judicial efficiency and preserve the resources of the court, parties and witnesses involved in the litigation. However, AstraZeneca opposes centralization, as do several other proton pump inhibitor manufacturers.
Bernstein Liebhard LLP is actively filing Nexium lawsuits involving serious kidney complications. If you are interested in pursuing such a case, please call (888) 994-8177 to contact one of our attorneys today.