Provigil Antitrust|Class Certified

     PHILADELPHIA (CN) – A federal judge granted class certification to wholesalers suing pharmaceutical company Cephalon for allegedly paying generic competitors to stay out of the market for its wakefulness drug Provigil.
     The antitrust case is one of many focused on reverse settlements, in which brand-name drugmakers pay generic manufacturers millions of dollars to drop patent suits, thus maintaining exclusivity.
     Lead plaintiff King Drug Company of Florence won class certification on Monday. The class includes every person or entity who bought Modafinil, marketed as the wakefulness-promoting drug Provigil, between June 24, 2006 and August 31, 2012, according to the ruling.
     U.S. District Judge Mitchell Goldberg included the 22 insurers already named in the suit against Cephalon parent company Teva as class members, but did not include individual patients who paid the insurers to purchase the drug.
     Cephalon paid four drugmakers, including Teva – before the Israeli pharmaceutical giant purchased Cepahlon in 2011 – $300 million to drop their patent suits, which may have invalidated Cephalon’s brand-name patent and opened the market to cheaper alternatives. At the time, Cephalon determined that generic Modafinil would cost about 90 percent less than Provigil, the ruling states.
     The protracted litigation, initiated in 2006, bears heightened significance since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in FTC v. Actavis, which held that reverse settlements, common in the pharmaceutical industry, could be illegal in some cases but did not specify what those situations are.

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