Shkreli and Vyera settle for $28M in yet another Daraprim antitrust suit

Ex-Vyera Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli has endured a costly couple of weeks in court. Now, the “pharma bro”-turned-convicted criminal will have to pull out his checkbook once more.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota has settled a class-action lawsuit for $28 million, the insurance system said this week. Besides Shkreli, the lawsuit also involved his former company Vyera Pharmaceuticals—previously known as Turing—Vyera ex-CEO Kevin Mulleady and Vyera’s Swiss parent company Phoenixus.

The settlement resolves allegations that Shkreli and Vyera illegally stymied generic competition to hog the market for toxoplasmosis drug Daraprim. Back in 2015, Turing infamously hiked Daraprim's price more than 4,000%, from $17.50  per pill to $750.

RELATED: Shkreli faces new FTC, New York crackdown for allegedly thwarting Daraprim generics

The settlement calls on Vyera and Phoenixus to “abandon their allegedly anticompetitive practices,” and the $28 million will be forked over to certain third-party payers that bought the drug, Blue Cross said in a release. The arrangement also demands that Shkreli honor the punishment handed down last month in his own antitrust case.

In mid-January, a federal judge ordered Shkreli to pay $64.6 million in disgorgement linked to money he earned from Turing's drug pricing scandal. The judge also banished Shkreli 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," Dana Erickson, president and CEO at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, said in a statement.

The settlement still needs to win approval with the federal district court in the Southern District of New York, Blue Cross noted.

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Back in December 2021, Vyera agreed to pay up to $40 million to settle charges linked to its Daraprim pricing racket. That lawsuit, brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, is separate from the 2017 fraud conviction that led to Shkreli's current prison sentence. 

Shkreli isn't the only Vyera exec to get hit with an industry ban, either. As part of December's settlement agreement, Mulleady has been barred “from almost any role at a pharmaceutical company" for the next seven years, James said at the time. 

Mulleady also must limit his shareholdings in any pharma company to “nominal amounts” for 10 years.