Viatris agrees to pay $264M to settle EpiPen class action case
Just as Biocon signs off on a $3.3 billion buyout of their shared biosimilars business, Viatris’s pending lawsuit for its controversial EpiPen might be no more — if the court signs off on it.
Keeping details short, the pharma snuck in an announcement about its EpiPen product in its Q4 report:
The Company has agreed, subject to approval by the Court, to a $264 million settlement, while denying any allegation of wrongdoing, to resolve the EpiPen Auto-Injector indirect purchaser class action cases pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas.
The pharma added that “the Board of Directors believes that this settlement is in the best interests of the Company and its stakeholders. The resolution of these indirect purchaser cases will allow the Company to move forward and continue focusing on its strategic priorities.”
The pharma player, created out of the merger of Upjohn and Mylan, came under heavy fire amid accusations of greed and price gouging after news surfaced in 2016 that the price of Mylan’s EpiPen, an auto-injector to treat severe allergic reactions, increased from about $100 in 2007 to $608 for a two-pack. At the time, the company had revenues of $11 billion a year — fueling scathing critiques about rising US drug prices.
Then-Mylan CEO Heather Bresch, daughter of Democratic senator Joe Manchin, left the company after the merger in 2020. But she vigorously defended the price increase at the time before the Congress Oversight and Government Reform Committee, saying that “Price and access exist in a balance, and we believe we have struck that balance.”
Fast forward one year, and Mylan finalized a $465 million settlement with the US Department of Justice to resolve claims that it overcharged the government for the EpiPen.
The class-action case, brought before Kansas City, KS judge Daniel Crabtree, was on behalf of consumers and third-party payers such as insurers — with the plaintiffs seeking $1 billion in damages, a sum that under some state antitrust laws could have been multiplied.
The lawsuit accused both Mylan and Pfizer, which manufactured the EpiPen, of engaging in anticompetitive conduct — potentially allowing the companies to maintain a monopoly over the market for the devices. While the case was slated to go on trial this month, Crabtree dismissed much of the case against Mylan last June, leaving only a claim concerning a 2012 patent litigation settlement with generic drugmaker Teva.
Pfizer had also settled last year for $345 million.