Watson Secures Severance of FTC's Lidoderm and Opana ER Cases

Skadden represented Watson Laboratories, Inc. in securing severance of antitrust claims brought by the Federal Trade Commission relating to the pharmaceutical products Lidoderm and Opana ER. The FTC's complaint alleged that: (i) in 2012, Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. and its partner Teikoku paid Watson to delay launching a generic version of Lidoderm; and (ii) in 2010, Endo paid Impax Laboratories, Inc. to delay launching a generic version of Opana ER. Watson moved to sever, arguing that it has no connection to the FTC's Opana ER-related allegations and that the FTC's two sets of claims concern different products, parties and timeframes.

Judge Paul Diamond of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania agreed that the FTC improperly attempted to join two separate cases. Specifically, he held that the Lidoderm and Opana ER claims shared no "logical relationship" and rejected the FTC's contention that purported similarities between the claims justified a combined case. He ordered that the FTC file new, individual complaints, one related to Lidoderm® and one related to Opana ER. Judge Diamond also agreed with the defendants that the FTC's informal request to transfer the severed claims was improper.