AstraZeneca Plc (AZN) and affiliates will pay as much as $11 million to settle claims the company violated antitrust and consumer-protection laws by keeping generic versions of the heart drug Toprol XL off the market.
Consumers and other buyers who paid for the drug from 2005 to 2012 may share in the fund by filing claim forms, available through www.ToprolSettlement.com, according to a statement today from law firms including Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check LLP. A federal judge will consider approving the settlement and attorneys’ fees of as much $3.5 million at a March 7 hearing in Wilmington, Delaware, the lawyers said.
The AstraZeneca defendants denied any wrongdoing, and agreed to the settlement partly “to avoid further expense, inconvenience” and uncertainties of protracted litigation, the London-based company said in court papers.
The case stems from lawsuits filed in 2006 by drug wholesalers and health and welfare funds contending AstraZeneca used unfair trade practices, partly by bringing sham patent- infringement lawsuits against makers of low-cost generics.
About half of the settlement fund will be used to pay consumer claims and the other half will go toward claims by insurers and employee-benefit plans, the law firms said.
The case is In re Metroprolol Succinate End-Payor Antitrust Litigation, 06-cv-71, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).
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