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U.S.D.C. - District of New Jersey

In this matter, a consolidated case was resolved respecting anti-competitive practices claims against a prominent drug maker. The MDL was ultimately resolved via settlement.

In the 1970s, the Warner-Lambert Corporation discovered gabapentin and its usefulness in preventing and limiting epileptic seizures. The company thereafter obtained several patents relating to the drug and its uses, including U.S. Patent No. ________ (Patent ’________), claiming the chemical molecule gabapentin anhydrous in ________. That patent expired in ________. The company also obtained U.S. Patent No. ________ (’________ Patent) covering the use of gabapentin to treat epilepsy. That patent expired in ________, the same year that Warner-Lambert was purchased by the defendant pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. This action saw the consolidation of suits in which defendants were accused of engaging in a pattern of violating anti-trust laws in an attempt to maintain block generic competition for Neurontin, Warner-Lambert and thereafter Pfizer’s trademarked version of gabapentin.

On March 25, ________, the plaintiff filed suit in the United States District Court, District of New Jersey accusing the defendant Pfizer of activities including sham patent infringement lawsuits and promotion of the drug for unapproved uses. A group of similar cases was later consolidated in this court (Re Neurontin Antitrust Litigation). The plaintiffs sought compensatory damages, under assertions that the alleged actions forced them to pay inflated prices for the drug.

The plaintiffs asserted that in ________, following the expiration of the defendant’s ’________ patent (and its pediatric extension), several generic drug manufacturers filed Abbreviated New Drug Applications (ANDAs) seeking FDA approval to market generic gabapentin products. Warner-Lambert thereafter commenced patent infringement litigation against several generic applicants, alleging infringement of ’________ and ’________. Those companies thereafter accused Warner Lambert of antitrust or unfair competition counterclaims; as such litigation invokes an automatic 30-month stay provision, thereby requiring the FDA to stay approval of the generic manufacturers’ ANDAs.

Summary Judgment of non-infringement was ultimately granted in favor of the generic applicants. The plaintiffs in this matter have asserted that these initial lawsuits were "objectively baseless and intended solely to illegally extend defendants monopoly by delaying the entrance of generic manufacturers into the gabapentin anhydrous market." The allegations were laid to rest for $________ million in damages to be paid to the class with no admission of liability or wrongdoing by the defendant.

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