The Joseph Saveri Law Firm has filed suit on behalf of a proposed class of end-payors who indirectly purchased, reimbursed, or otherwise paid for Zetia (or ezetimibe).  Zetia is a blockbuster brand-name drug used to treat patients with high cholesterol, which can lead to atherosclerosis, heart attack, or stroke.

The firm represents Plaintiff Self-Insured Schools of California (“SISC”), a Joint Powers Authority under California law that serves the interests of California public school district members.  SISC provides pharmacy benefits to approximately 260,000 members who reside in numerous locations in the United States.

SISC alleges that Merck, the brand manufacturer of Zetia, reached an unlawful “reverse-payment” agreement with generic manufacturers Par Pharmaceutical and Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, who had sought to market and sell a generic version of Zetia. Under the agreement, Glenmark agreed not to introduce a generic version of Zetia for six-and-a-half years.  In exchange, Merck agreed not to introduce its own “authorized” generic (a so-called “no-AG agreement”) during Glenmark’s first-filer 180-day exclusivity period.  As a result of the agreement, Merck unlawfully prolonged its Zetia monopoly and reaped windfall profits. Through the no-AG Agreement, Merck shared a portion of its ill-gotten gains (totaling hundreds of millions of dollars) with Glenmark.

While Defendants profited handsomely from their Agreement, consumers and third-party payors paid inflated prices for brand and generic Zetia.  By delaying generic competition, Defendants’ unlawful Agreement has directly caused SISC and the proposed Class to suffer antitrust injury in the form of overcharges.

The suit alleges Defendant’s actions constituted a contract, combination, and conspiracy in restraint of trade in violation of the antitrust and competition laws of numerous states.  It seeks a jury trial and damages (trebled where allowed by statute).