On December 27, 2016, Judge William Pauley of the Southern District of New York selected Girard Gibbs to serve as interim-lead counsel in a group of lawsuits alleging that generic drug makers violated U.S. antitrust laws by conspiring to raise and fix the prices of topical corticosteroids.
About the Topical Corticosteriod Market
Doctors prescribe topical corticosteroids to treat common skin problems like eczema and psoriasis. For years, generic versions of the drugs have been available to patients at low prices. Competition among generic drug makers to supply pharmacies and other institutional buyers with the drugs keep prices low absent price collusion. But prices for these once cheap drugs have sharply risen in recent years with no reasonable justification, leaving health benefit plans that cover drug costs for its members footing the hefty bill.
The Class Action Lawsuits
Girard Gibbs represents the Sergeants Benevolent Association Health and Welfare Fund and other indirect drug buyers in a lawsuit alleging that starting in 2013, a number of generic drug companies began to collude to raise the prices of three generic topical steroids: clobetasol, desonide, and fluocinonide. The complaint alleges that employees of these companies had ample opportunity to meet and agree to raise drug prices and keep them high during generic pharmaceutical industry trade shows held across the country and throughout the year. At least one of the defendants has been issued a criminal grand jury subpoena by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.
Current Case Status
After several class actions were filed in New York City based on these claims, Judge Pauley in November 2016 ordered briefing and a hearing on how the actions could be efficiently consolidated before trial and who would lead the consolidated proceedings. Attorneys from across the country representing other indirect drug buyers applied for leadership over the consolidated actions. Shortly after a December 2016 courtroom conference, Judge Pauley appointed Girard Gibbs interim lead counsel on December 27th. Girard Gibbs is now leading discovery efforts on the consolidated clobetasol, desonide, and fluocinonide antitrust lawsuits.