White & Case Secures Victory for AbbVie Inc. and Other Pharmaceutical Companies in the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Press Release
2 min read

Global law firm White & Case LLP has successfully led AbbVie Inc. and several other pharmaceutical companies, as co-defendants, to secure a dismissal with prejudice in In re: Bystolic Antitrust Litigation in the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in which purchasers of high-blood-pressure drug Bystolic and its generic equivalents accused the drug's manufacturers of "unlawful 'reverse' settlement payments."

Forest Laboratories, the brand manufacturer of Bystolic, settled a patent-infringement litigation matter in December 2017, in which seven generic manufacturers of the blood pressure drug agreed to forgo the launch of their products for several years. Contemporaneously, Forest separately entered into business transactions whereby it paid the drug's generic manufacturers for goods and services, and was later sued by the purchasers, along with the generic manufacturers, for alleged "unlawful 'reverse' settlement payments to delay the market entry of generic Bystolic."

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York twice dismissed the case brought by the purchasers for failure to state a claim, and the White & Case team led by Antitrust partner Eric Grannon, who served as lead counsel in both the Second Circuit and in the District Court on behalf of all defendants, successfully argued the dismissals in both courts.

On Monday, May 13, the Second Circuit issued its decision, affirming the District Court's judgment of dismissal with prejudice of all "unlawful 'reverse' settlement payment" claims brought against the manufacturers, citing a lack of evidence that "any of Forest's reverse payments were unjust or unexplained."

The win for the White & Case team is particularly noteworthy because In re: Bystolic Antitrust Litigation is the first time the Second Circuit has applied the standard of the US Supreme Court's 2013 decision in Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis Inc., in which White & Case partners Grannon and Mark Gidley served as counsel of record on behalf of two respondent pharmaceutical companies.

The White & Case team was led by Antitrust partners Eric Grannon, Mark Gidley, Peter Carney and Adam Acosta, and counsel Celia McLaughlin, and included associates Cansu Gunel, Matthew Kabak (all in Washington, DC) and Kelly Newman (Boston).

The full decision can be found here.

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