BCBS of Minnesota Reaches Settlement in Class Action Lawsuit Against Vyera Pharmaceuticals and Phoenixus AG

$28 million settlement pending court approval.


Eagan, Minn. (January 31, 2022) —Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross) announced a settlement in its class action lawsuit against Vyera Pharmaceuticals; its parent company, Phoenixus AG; and two former executives, Martin Shkreli and Kevin Mulleady.

The complaint, which was filed by Blue Cross on behalf of other third-party payers across the country last year, alleges that Vyera intentionally monopolized the pharmaceutical market for Daraprim – a once-affordable, lifesaving drug for the treatment of toxoplasmosis – by illegally limiting generic competition. Under the direction of Shkreli and Mulleady, the per-pill price for Daraprim went from $17.50 to $750 – an increase of more than 4,000 percent.

According to the settlement agreement, which was submitted for the court’s approval on Friday, Vyera and Phoenixus must abandon their allegedly anticompetitive practices and pay up to $28 million to a proposed class of third-party payers that purchased Daraprim. The settlement also requires Shkreli to abide by the injunctive relief entered against him in a related lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission and several states, where the court recently ordered Shkreli to be banned from the pharmaceutical industry for life.

“Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota believes that drug companies need to be held accountable for the uncontrollable rise of prescription drug costs,” said Dana Erickson, president and CEO at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. “We look forward to finalizing this settlement in the courts so that funds may be distributed appropriately to impacted members of the class.”

Pyrimethamine (generic of Daraprim) molecular structure; graphic by DFliyerz, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons, no changes.

The settlement is pending approval with the federal district court in the Southern District of New York. Blue Cross is represented in this lawsuit by Robins Kaplan LLP.

“We are pleased to be on the path towards compensating class members who we allege were harmed by the defendants’ scheme,” says Kellie Lerner, co-chair of Robins Kaplan’s Antitrust and Trade Regulation Group. “We hope this settlement sends a clear message that private payers will fight against unconscionable price increases.”

To learn more about what Blue Cross is doing to improve the sustainability of health care, visit www.bluecrossmn.com/sustainability.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota

For nearly 90 years, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (bluecrossmn.com) has supported the health, wellbeing and peace of mind of our members by striving to ensure equitable access to high quality care at an affordable price. Our 2.5 million members can be found in every Minnesota county, all 50 states and on four continents. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association

About Robins Kaplan LLP®

Robins Kaplan is among the nation’s premier trial law firms, with more than 250 lawyers located in Bismarck, N.D.; Boston; Los Angeles; Minneapolis; New York; Silicon Valley; and Sioux Falls, S.D. The firm litigates, mediates, and arbitrates high-stakes, complex disputes, repeatedly earning national recognition. Firm clients include—as both plaintiffs and defendants—numerous Fortune 500 corporations, emerging markets companies, entrepreneurs, and individuals.

BCBS of Minnesota Reaches Settlement in Class Action Lawsuit Against Vyera Pharmaceuticals and Phoenixus AG

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