Mylan, U.S. finalize EpiPen settlement

Mylan has finalized a $465 million settlement with the U.S. Justice Department, resolving claims that it overcharged the government for its EpiPen emergency allergy treatment, which became the center of a firestorm over price increases.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Massachusetts revealed the accord on Thursday, 10 months after Mylan said it reached a deal resolving claims that it misclassified the EpiPen as a generic rather than a branded product to reduce the rebates it pays to the Medicaid health-care program for the poor.

Under the deal, Mylan did not admit wrongdoing. It will reclassify EpiPen and pay the rebate applicable to its new classification as of April 1.

The deal followed a False Claims Act whistleblower lawsuit filed by French rival Sanofi in 2016, the office of acting U.S. Attorney William Weinreb said.

Sanofi, which formerly marketed a rival product called Auvi-Q, will receive nearly $38.8 million as a reward from the government.

EpiPen, which Mylan acquired in 2007, is a handheld device that treats life-threatening allergic reactions by automatically injecting a dose of epinephrine.

Mylan came under fire last year after raising the price of a pair of EpiPens to $600, from $100 in 2008, putting it in the center of the ongoing U.S. debate over the high cost of prescription medicines.

Mylan has since offered its own generic version for about $300.

— Reuters

Uber wins bid to keep price feud out of court

Uber may be able to force a feud over price-fixing claims with a Connecticut customer into private arbitration, a New York appeals panel ruled Thursday in a victory for the company’s efforts to settle disputes out of court.

The appeals court in Manhattan reversed a 2016 decision by U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, who said Uber’s online user agreement didn’t provide the customer with enough notice that disputes would be heard in private arbitration for it to be binding.

The case is one of several testing the ride-hailing company’s attempts to force disputes into arbitration and away from public courtrooms. Uber is also attempting to move its fight with Waymo over trade secrets for driverless cars into arbitration.

The Connecticut customer, Spencer Meyer, sued Uber in 2015, saying its pricing algorithm violates antitrust laws used to protect customers from price manipulation. He is seeking damages on behalf of millions of U.S. riders who rely on the company for transportation.

Rakoff in July 2016 declined Uber’s request to throw out the suit and have the matter sent to an arbitrator. The judge said the process Meyer used to register for Uber’s service didn’t adequately notify him that he was waiving his right to have claims heard in court.

The appeals court found that Uber provided “reasonably conspicuous notice” of its terms of service and that Meyer agreed to arbitrate his claims, saying he “unambiguously manifested his assent.”

— Bloomberg News

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Fewer Americans applied for jobless aid last week, as the number of people seeking benefits remained close to historical lows. The Labor Department said weekly unemployment applications fell by 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 244,000. The less volatile four-week average slipped 500 to 240,500. Jobless claims have come in below 300,000 for 128 weeks in a row. That is the longest such stretch since 1970.

A proposed $2.5 billion transmission line to bring cheap Kansas wind power to the Midwest was rejected by Missouri, which said the project failed to get all needed county approvals. Clean Line Energy Partners’ Grain Belt Express project is intended to transport about 4,000 megawatts of wind power from Kansas to Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and neighboring states. “It’s impossible if you’re building a multistate transmission line to get agreements from all 30 counties that you might cross,” said Michael Skelly, the president of Houston-based Clean Line.

— From news services