A Kansas federal judge granted final approval to the $345 million settlement between Pfizer and the consumer classes that accused it of scheming to inflate the price of its emergency allergy treatment EpiPen, which includes a $115 million check to class counsel from multiple firms.
The $115 million cut, which amounts to one-third of the July settlement, will be split between seven firms that represented the consumers in the case. U.S. District Judge Daniel D. Crabtree noted that the consumers’ counsel conducted their investigation without help from the federal government.
In addition to the attorneys’ $115 million cut, the court also approved $9.6 million in expenses. The only part of the settlement Judge Crabtree denied was the proposed $5,000 service award to each of the 35 plaintiff class representatives, amounting to $175,000. Instead, the court ordered service awards to be based on the time each representative spent on the case.
The remainder of the settlement funds will be divided into two pools, one for individual consumers and one for third-party payors, who will receive 80% and 20% of the settlement fund, respectively.
The settlement saved Pfizer, which is still denying liability for the claims, from having to face a jury trial scheduled for early next year. The class action accused pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer and EpiPen seller Mylan, of racketeering and state antitrust violations. Mylan was able to trim off the racketeering claims in June, but will still face a jury in January over whether a pair of settlements ending patent litigation constituted an illegal reverse payment that violated state antitrust laws.
The sprawling multidistrict litigation was sparked after the price of an EpiPen climbed up to $600 in 2016 from the $100 it had been less than a decade earlier. The buyers claim that Mylan, which was selling EpiPens made by Pfizer, conspired to maintain the emergency treatment’s monopoly through large rebates issued to insurers and Medicaid plans that refused to cover a competing medication.
The two companies are also accused of employing reverse-payment patent settlements and other tactics to thwart the emergence of generic competitors.