Amgen to pay J&J's Ortho Biotech $200 million to settle suit

Independent biotechnology firm Amgen Inc has agreed to pay Johnson & Johnson company Ortho Biotech $200 million to settle its long standing antitrust litigation.The pending litigation in New Jersey District Court will be dismissed with prejudice.

The litigation brought by Ortho Biotech in 2005 had alleged that Amgen had offered discounts to oncology clinics on its products, Aranesp, used in the treatment of anaemia assocaited with chemotherapy, and for Neupogen and Neulasta, anti-infectives used for patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Ortho Biotech said the discounted pricing through bundling the anaemia- and infection-fighting drugs forced cancer clinics to buy the newer Aranesp,  in preference to Johnson's drug, and therfore violated antitrust laws.

Amgen said in a statement that it "continues to deny that its challenged conduct was unlawful, and admits to no wrongdoing as part of the settlement agreement".

Johnson & Johnson said in a statement that the after-tax gain of approximately $120 million is expected to be recorded in the results of operations for Johnson & Johnson for the third quarter of 2008.

"We are pleased to have reached a settlement that puts this litigation behind us," said said Kevin Sharer, Amgen's chairman and chief executive officer. "We believe eliminating the expense and uncertainty of this suit is in the best interest of shareholders."