Sandoz enters $265 mln settlement agreement in U.S. price-fixing case

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Feb 29 (Reuters) - Swiss generic and biosimilar manufacturer Sandoz SDZ.S on Thursday said it had entered into a $265 million settlement agreement in a price-fixing case in the United States.

The company said its U.S. subsidiaries had agreed to pay $265 million in a lawsuit with a class of direct drug purchasers, an agreement that does not contain any admission of wrongdoing by the Swiss company.

The agreement, which is subject to court approval, would also release Sandoz of all the claims asserted against it by the settlement class members.

The case dates back to the time when Sandoz was part of Swiss healthcare giant Novartis Group NOVN.S, which spun off its generics business in October 2023 and floated it on the stock exchange.

Novartis had already reached settlements for two similar antitrust lawsuits against the division in 2020 and 2021, paying a total of almost $400 million.

Sandoz's settlement in the U.S. price-fixing case is separate from two remaining plaintiff cases, which the company said concern indirect and downstream purchases and damages claims under state law.

"Sandoz U.S. continues to defend itself vigorously in those cases, and has raised a number of defenses, including whether downstream purchasers were actually damaged due to the alleged conduct," the company said in a statement.

(Writing by Bartosz Dabrowski in Gdansk and Noele Illien in Zurich Editing by Miranda Murray)

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