BMS Is Losing Suits in Plavix-Apotex Fiasco; Another $125M Down the Toilet

Last Updated Jul 28, 2009 11:33 AM EDT

Bristol-Myers Squibb is mostly losing its Plavix securities litigation. It's 10-Q filing with the SEC says it just paid out $125 million to settle a suit over the 2006 fiasco; it settled a second suit for an undisclosed sum; and two others remain pending.

Back story: BMS struck a bonkers deal with Apotex in which Apotex would buy a license to produce BMS's blockbuster blood-thinner. The agreement had a catch -- if the feds didn't like it, then Apotex would be allowed to begin production of generic Plavix without BMS's permission, and BMS would have to wait five days before suing Apotex to stop the generic. In that five days, Apotex cranked out enough Plavix to flood the market for months, and it decimated BMS's stock.

The agreement turned out to be illegal and Andrew Bodnar, a former svp/strategy for BMS, was forced by a judge to write a book about the experience as punishment.

This chart shows what a successful securities class-action looks like: When Apotex was freed from the BMS license and began production of generic Plavix in August 2006, BMS stock dropped by nearly 12 percent.

Here's the current state of play regarding BMS's Plavix shareholder suits:

In New York State Supreme Court:

  • Frank - pending
  • Beebout - pending
In federal court:
  • Sampson - "In June 2009, the parties reached a settlement in principle to resolve this matter, for an amount that is not material to the Company, pending final approval by the court."
  • Minneapolis Firefighters - rolled into Ontario Teachers case
  • Lai - rolled into Ontario Teachers case
  • Ontario Teachers - "In May 2009, the parties reached a settlement in principle to resolve this litigation for payment of $125 million, pending final approval by the court."
Hat tip to AmLaw.