Oct 11 (Reuters) - Pfizer (PFE.N) has agreed to pay $50 million to settle claims by drug wholesalers that they overpaid for EpiPen allergy treatment devices as a result of anticompetitive tactics by the drugmaker.
In a filing Tuesday in Kansas City, Kansas, federal court, the wholesalers said the settlement was fair and would avoid the risk that the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals would uphold an order by U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree dismissing their claims. The class action settlement must still be approved by the judge.
"Pfizer denies any wrongdoing and continues to believe that its actions were appropriate," the company said in a statement.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs — including Kinney Drugs and FWK Holdings, a company that owns claims for a now-defunct distributor — did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The EpiPen is a handheld device that treats life-threatening allergic reactions by automatically injecting a dose of epinephrine.
Lawsuits by the wholesalers, as well as by consumers, followed a public outcry in 2016 after Mylan, which owns the rights to market and distribute the devices, raised the price of a pair of EpiPens to $600, from $100 in 2008.
They accused Mylan, which is now part of Viatris, and Pfizer, which manufactured the EpiPen for Mylan, of engaging in anticompetitive conduct that allowed them to maintain a monopoly over the market for the devices and their profitable revenues. Specifically, they claimed Pfizer and Mylan paid Teva Pharmaceutical Industries to delay the launch of a generic version of the device.
Crabtree in 2021 dismissed the claims against Pfizer on the grounds that Mylan, not Pfizer, directly sold the EpiPen. An appeal of that ruling was pending, but had not yet been argued.
A group of consumers, later in 2021, reached a $345 million settlement with Pfizer over their related claims, which had survived dismissal. Mylan reached a $264 million settlement with consumers and insurers in 2022.
The case is KPH Healthcare Services Inc v. Mylan NV, U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, No. 2:20-cv-02065.