Gilead Sciences, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and a group of consumers who accused the companies of conspiring to keep certain HIV therapy drugs off the market and at high prices have reached a $10 million class action settlement.
Lead plaintiff Peter Staley filed the class action lawsuit against Gilead in August 2019. He claimed the company’s inflated drug costs priced more than 400,000 people in the US out of their necessary HIV medications.
Gilead allegedly held a monopoly on HIV drug patents, the company has been able to charge high premiums for these medications. The class action also claimed that Gilead has violated state and federal laws by allegedly scheming with other drug manufacturers to prevent them from creating generic versions of these drugs, even after the patents on them expired.
And the federal court approved the $10 million settlement between the companies and end-payor plaintiffs, which claimed the pharmaceutical companies engaged in anti-competitive practices that kept less expensive generic HIV drugs from being available to the class members.
The Gilead HIV Drug Class Action Settlement is Staley, et al. v. Gilead Sciences Inc., et al., Case No. 3:19-cv-02573-EMC, in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.
Of that $10 million, $1.25 million will go to consumer members of the proposed Class of Evotaz purchasers. Plaintiffs will also receive up to $200,000 for providing notice to potential other class members, a sum of which Bristol-Myers has agreed to pay half.
The deal also includes “significant injunctive relief” which will prevent Bristol-Myers from continuing its alleged practice, along with Gilead Sciences, of withholding the generic product Evotaz from the market. Without this injunction, Bristol-Meyers’ agreement with Gilead Sciences would have kept the drug inaccessible until at least September 2029.
The settlement was negotiated in “good faith” and at “arm’s length,” as is required, and “secures an excellent result for the Class.” However, the document maintains Bristol-Myers’ displeasure with the complaints’ characterizations of Bristol-Myers’ conduct and its collaboration with Gilead Sciences.