Direct Purchasers Settle Novartis-Par Hypertension Drug Reverse Payment Litigation for $127M

The direct purchasers in the ongoing antitrust litigation against Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and Novartis AG have submitted a proposed settlement of nearly $127 million. On Wednesday, the plaintiffs, purchasers of Novartis’ hypertension medication Exforge, moved for class certification, preliminary approval of the settlement, and the appointment of lead counsel, a settlement administrator, and an escrow agent.

Per the memorandum, the case concerns whether Novartis made a reverse payment to Par Pharmaceutical Inc. in exchange for Par’s promise not to bring a generic version of Exforge to market. While both Novartis and Par were defendants in the original case, in the wake of Par’s filing for bankruptcy, the plaintiffs and Novartis agreed to dismiss the charges against Par with prejudice.

After five years of extensive litigation, the parties agreed to a settlement of $126.85 million, of which no more than a third will go to legal fees. The figure represents 72% of the maximum estimated damages, a calculation of the approximate surcharge the class paid due to Par refraining from releasing a competing generic drug. For reference, in their 2021 annual report, Novartis claimed $37 billion in gross profit from continuing operations.

The memorandum asks the court to appoint Garwin Gerstein & Fisher LLP as lead counsel for the purposes of the settlement, RG/2 Claims  Administration as the settlement administrator, and First State Trust Company as the escrow agent. The memorandum further thanks Eric Green for his mediation services.

Novartis is represented by Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and Par by Williams & Connolly LLP.