Nichols, et al. v. SmithKline Beechman Corporation, Civil Action No. 00-6222, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

In April 2005, U.S. District Court Judge John R. Padova approved a $65 million settlement in a class action antitrust suit brought by consumers and health insurance companies who paid for the antidepressant Paxil.

Plaintiffs alleged that the manufacturer, SmithKline Beecham, filed sham patent infringement lawsuits against other manufacturers seeking approval of generic versions of Paxil from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).Under the Hatch-Waxman Act, the mere filing of such patent infringement lawsuits delays approval of generic drugs by 30 months if the suits are not resolved earlier. Meanwhile, consumers or their insurance carriers, or both, continue paying patent-protected prices rather than lower prices for generic versions.

During class certification, Nathan’s Gary French submitted an expert affidavit concerning the economic impact of the alleged wrongdoing on class members and possible methodologies for calculating class-wide damages. He defended his class certification analysis in a second affidavit replying to the opinions of defendants’ expert and at a certification hearing before the Court. In a final affidavit, Dr. French calculated the aggregate class-wide damages.

Plaintiffs’ counsel was led by Miller Faucher & Cafferty of Philadelphia; Roda Nast of Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and the Wexler Firm of Chicago. Joseph Roda of Roda Nast and Daniel Gustafson of Gustafson Gluek in Minneapolis argued on behalf of plaintiffs.

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