Pfizer Settles Lipitor Antitrust Suit for $93M, Ends Decade-Long Court Battle

Pfizer office NY_iStock, JHVEPhoto

Pictured: Sign at Pfizer's headquarters in New York/iStock, JHVEPhoto

Pfizer is seeking to settle an antitrust suit to the tune of $93 million with wholesale drug distributors that accused the pharma giant of working with India-based Ranbaxy Laboratories to slow the release of generic versions of Lipitor, Reuters reported Thursday.

According to the Reuters, attorneys for the drug purchasers revealed the agreement in a U.S. court in New Jersey, while litigation will continue against Ranbaxy  which was acquired by Sun Pharma in 2015. A judge must still sign off on the Pfizer settlement before it is official.

“Pfizer firmly believes that all claims that have been or are asserted against Pfizer in this case are factually and legally without merit,” a Pfizer spokesperson emailed to BioSpace. “As this case has already gone on for over 12 years, considerations led the company to determine that the proposed class settlement is fair, reasonable, and the best way to resolve this litigation. Under the proposed agreement, Pfizer does not admit to any liability or wrongdoing.”

In 2012, Pfizer and Ranbaxy were initially sued, alleging that the two companies were in an antitrust scheme after the Lipitor patent had run out and had delayed the entry of generic cholesterol medication onto the market.

According to a legal filing, plaintiffs in the case accused Pfizer of violating federal antitrust laws by using patents related to Lipitor to block generics. The suit alleged that it paid Ranbaxy to settle infringement litigation and keep products off of the market until the date that was agreed upon. 

Lawyers for the plaintiffs said that the settlement is providing economic relief, Reuters reported, and will evade any more litigation actions. At the same time, $31 million in legal fees will be sought after in the settlement. 

Pfizer has been involved in other litigation over the past year. In August 2023, Pfizer and the Scripps Research Institute filed a patent lawsuit to block a generic version of the heart disease medication Vyndamax (tafamidis) that Dexel Pharma Technologies planned to sell. 

The same month, GSK filed a lawsuit against Pfizer for allegedly infringing on four patents related to the antigen being used in the Arexvy RSV vaccine, which Pfizer denies and plans to defend against. 

Tyler Patchen is a staff writer at BioSpace. You can reach him at tyler.patchen@biospace.com. Follow him on LinkedIn.

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