Insurers may be able to get more than $29 million from a fund that could be created to settle a prescription marketing class-action lawsuit.
The U.S. District Court in New Jersey has granted preliminary approval to a settlement for In re Vytorin/Zetia Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation.
The lawyers who filed the suit are representing a suit that includes consumers, insurers, and other individuals or entities that paid for, or reimbursed others who paid for, the anti-cholesterol drugs Zetia or Vytorin from Nov. 1, 2002, through Sept. 17, 2009.
The proposed settlement fund would start with a total of $41.5 million in cash, according to a consulting firm that is helping the lawyers involved in the preliminary settlement agreement communicate with class members.
The lawyers for the class members would deduct court-approved attorneys’ fees and expenses from the settlement fund before any payments were made to class members, the consulting firm says.
The plaintiffs claim in their suit that the defendants violated consumer protection laws by marketing Zetia and Vytorin as being more effective than other anti-cholesterol drugs and selling them at higher prices when they were not more effective.
The defendants deny any wrongdoing but are settling the lawsuit to resolve the controversy and to avoid the burden and expense of further litigation, according to the consultants.
The court expects to hold a fairness hearing on the proposed settlement Feb. 8, 2010.
Under the terms of the preliminary settlement agreement, class members that want to opt out must do so by Jan. 15, 2010, according to the consulting firm for the class lawyers.
Class members who want to stay in the settlement and receive a payment must submit a claim form by April 1, 2010.
Class members can stay in the settlement but object and appear at the settlement fairness hearing if they submit a written objection by Jan. 15, 2010.
Class members who do nothing will stay in the settlement but will not get a payment,
More information about the preliminary settlement agreement, including information about how to file a claim, is available at http://www.vytorinzetiasettlement.com/