Company founded by Shkreli off the hook in $43 million lawsuit: judge
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Vyera Pharmaceuticals, formerly known as Turing Pharmaceuticals, does not have to pay Impax Laboratories Inc $43 million in a dispute stemming from Turing founder Martin Shkreli’s decision to boost by 5,000 percent the price of a drug Turing bought from Impax, a U.S. judge ruled on Friday.
U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos in Manhattan said Vyera was liable for the money under its contract with Impax, but did not have to pay it because Impax had violated the contract as well.
Impax and Vyera did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Impax sold Daraprim, an anti-infection drug often used in AIDS patients, to Turing in August 2015. Turing, under Shkreli’s leadership, immediately raised its price to $750 per pill, from $13.50, sparking outrage among patients and U.S. lawmakers.
Shkreli stepped down as Turing’s chief executive officer in December 2015 after he was charged with defrauding investors in two hedge funds he once ran.
The 34-year-old former executive was convicted of securities fraud in August. He was jailed earlier this month after he placed a $5,000 bounty on former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s hair, prompting a federal judge to revoke his bail.
Shkreli’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said at a court hearing in June that Shkreli still owned a substantial share of Turing worth between $30 and $50 million.
Impax sued Turing in May 2016, claiming that as a result of the price increase, state Medicaid agencies had demanded tens of millions of dollars in rebates for Daraprim pills that still had Impax branding. It said Turing was liable for those rebates.
Drug companies must agree to pay such rebates, which are calculated using a formula that depends in part on the manufacturer’s price, in order to be eligible for Medicaid coverage.
Turing countered that Impax had provided faulty information to the federal health agency that calculated the rebates, and was required to submit corrected information. Impax said it had no obligation to do that under the contract, but Ramos rejected that argument on Friday.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Impax was in talks to merge with privately held Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLC, citing unnamed sources.
Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by David Gregorio