Pfizer, Mylan escape another EpiPen lawsuit after judge scraps pharmacy chain's antitrust complaints

Gavel with scales of justice in background
Earlier this month, Pfizer and two of its subsidaries agreed to pay $345 million to put years of EpiPen litigation to bed. (William_Potter / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Mylan and Pfizer have spent years defending their marketing of the popular epinephrine injector EpiPen. After a busy couple of months in court, the partners have now wiped their hands of another lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree granted Mylan's motion to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit against itself and Pfizer. Specifically, the Kansas District Court tossed out a second amended class-action complaint from KPH Healthcare Services alleging Mylan and Pfizer used anticompetitive tactics to maintain their epinephrine "monopoly," forged exclusive prescribing deals and maligned the merits of an EpiPen competitor. 

Viatris, which was born through the combination of Mylan and Pfizer's Upjohn unit, said in a statement it's "pleased" with the court's decision. The company maintains that its actions were "completely lawful and pro-competitive."

RELATED: Sanofi looks to take Mylan to court, again, over EpiPen antitrust allegations

KPH, which operates brick-and-mortar and online pharmacies, accused Pfizer and Mylan of engaging in a "multi-faceted, overarching conspiracy to monopolize" the epinephrine autoinjector market. The plaintiff said the companies used Mylan's discounted EpiPen program to exclusively stock the autoinjector in schools and "falsely" suggested the EpiPen competitor Auvi-Q was not bioequivalent to Pfizer and Mylan's drug.

The court agreed with Mylan's argument that KPH lacks legal ground to make its claims. The Supreme Court generally holds that only direct purchasers, not indirect purchasers such as KPH, have standing to sue and recover damages under antitrust law, Judge Crabtree wrote. KPH didn't buy EpiPen straight from Pfizer and Mylan but instead went through McKesson, the defendants pointed out.

The company now has 30 days to file a limited amended complaint.

RELATED: Mylan forks over $30M to settle SEC's EpiPen accounting probe

For Viatris, the legal win comes after a busy stretch in court. In mid-July, Pfizer and two subsidiaries agreed to pay $345 million to settle years of antitrust litigation that's currently set to go to trial on September 7. The month before that, Viatris said the Kansas District Court had dismissed all racketeering claims against the company and its former CEO Heather Bresch.