There is a Proposed Settlement with Defendants Merck Serono International, S.A., Serono Laboratories, Inc., and EMD Serono, Inc. (“Serono Defendants”), in two consolidated class action lawsuits pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The names of the lawsuits are Government Employees Hospital Association, et al. v. Serono International, S.A., Serono Laboratories, Inc., Serono, Inc., RJL Systems, Inc., and Rudolph J. Liedtke, C.A. No. 05-cv-11935 (PBS) (D. Mass.), and Eugene Francis v. Serono Laboratories, Inc., Serono, Inc., RJL Systems, Inc., and Rudolph J. Liedtke, C.A. No. 06-cv-10613 (PBS) (D. Mass.)
What is this Lawsuit About?
Serostim is a drug approved by the FDA to treat HIV/AIDS patients with wasting or cachexia. The lawsuits claim, among other things, that the Serono Defendants encouraged physicians to prescribe Serostim:
- based on diagnostic criteria that were not approved by the FDA, and
- for purposes other than those indicated.
The lawsuits also claim that the Serono’s Defendants’ conduct caused physicians to prescribe the drug, and caused third-party payors to pay for the drug, under circumstances and for purposes for which it was not indicated.
Who is in the Class?
The Proposed Settlement Class consists of all Third-Party Payors (“TPP”) that made reimbursements for all or part of the drug Serostim between July 1, 1995 and December 31, 2006.
A TPP is an entity that is:
- A party to a contract, issuer of a policy, or sponsor of a plan, and
- At risk, under such contract, policy, or plan, to pay or reimburse all or part of the cost of prescription drugs dispensed to covered natural persons.
TPPs include insurance companies, union health and welfare benefit plans and self-insured employers. Entities with self-funded plans that contract with a health insurance company or other entity to serve as a third-party claims administrator to administer their prescription drug benefits can qualify as TPPs. Third-party claim administrators may also file a claim on behalf of a self-funded plan if the third-party claim administrator has legal authority and authorization from the self-funded plan to do so.
Unless you exclude, you will be included in the Proposed Settlement if you are a member of the Proposed Settlement Class.
Excluded from the Class are certain (a) third-party payors who are entering into a separate settlement agreement with the Serono Defendants; (b) the Serono Defendants, their respective present and former, direct and indirect, parents, subsidiaries, divisions, partners and affiliates; (c) the United States government, its officers, agents, agencies and departments; and (d) all other government entities, to the extent that they previously released their claims pursuant to the 2005 Settlement Agreement and Release resolving the matter of United States of America v. Serono Laboratories, Inc. , 05-CR-10282-RJL (D. Mass.) and all related litigation.
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