Paxil Antitrust Litigation — Nichols v. Smithkline Beecham et al.
Court: United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Case No.: 00-cv-6222
Leadership Position: Co-Lead Class Counsel
Wexler Wallace served as Co-Lead Counsel in this case, alleging that Defendants illegally maintained a monopoly by taking improper actions to keep generic versions of paroxetine hydrochloride (Paxil®) off the market. Paxil is a prescription drug manufactured and sold by GlaxoSmithKline for the treatment of, among other things, depression and anxiety. As alleged in the complaint, because of Defendants’ actions in delaying generic competition, third party payors and consumers were forced to pay more for this needed medication than they should have in a competitive market. After extensive discovery and investigation, Wexler Wallace and their Co-Lead Counsel achieved a settlement of $65 million on behalf of the Class. The favorable response to this hard-fought settlement was overwhelming, with over 60,000 consumers filing claims.
Novel questions of law and complex issues of proof made this an extraordinarily difficult case. Instead of a traditional price-fixing case of the type known among the antitrust bar as a “hardcore cartel” case, this case involved a Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) investigation that was closed without further FTC action. Consequently, the case had to be built from the ground up. Moreover, the Paxil case is believed to be one of the earliest actions, if not the first, to allege monopoly antitrust violations through the misuse of patents to delay generic competition in a pharmaceutical market.