Gilead Sciences, after trial win, moves ahead with $247M settlement in HIV antitrust case

Even after Gilead Sciences and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries prevailed in a high-stakes HIV drug antitrust trial over the summer, Gilead appears ready to hand over hundreds of millions of dollars to resolve part of the wide-ranging case.

In a Monday order, a federal judge in California gave preliminary approval to a proposed settlement between Gilead and direct purchasers of its HIV drugs Truvada and Atripla. Specifically, the company agreed to fund a $246.75 million settlement for companies that purchased those drugs from February 2018 to November 2022, according to the order.

The long-running and expansive litigation centers on an alleged anticompetitive arrangement between Gilead and Teva, a generics giant. In 2019, various plaintiffs started claiming the companies' patent settlements on Viread, Truvada and Atripla delayed generics for years and cost them billions of dollars.

This order comes after Gilead and Teva side-stepped a much larger possible penalty. In late June, a jury sided with the pharmaceutical companies and ruled against the plaintiffs, who said they were owed $3.6 billion.

In making that ruling, the jury said a 2014 patent deal between Gilead and Teva did not violate antitrust laws.

After that trial result, KPH Health Services pursued a class-action settlement with Gilead on behalf of drug purchasers, according to Courthouse News Service. Now, that settlement is moving ahead.

Based on a legal expert's analysis, the direct purchasers' damages from the alleged scheme totaled more than $2 billion, according to the Monday order from U.S. District Judge Edward Chen. While the settlement covers just 12% of those alleged damages, "the absolute dollar value of the gross settlement fund is still significant," Chen wrote.

After the preliminary approval, the court plans to hold a hearing on a motion for final approval in January.

As Chen wrote in the order, Gilead did not admit liability with the preliminary settlement deal.