Robins Kaplan LLP Appointed Co-Lead Counsel in Class-Action Antitrust Lawsuit Alleging Collusion Among Suppliers of Saline to U.S. Hospitals

January 5, 2017

New York, NY—January 5, 2017—National trial firm Robins Kaplan LLP® announced today that it has been appointed co-lead counsel in a class action antitrust lawsuit against the three dominant suppliers of IV saline solution, a vital medical supply used in hospitals nationwide.

Robins Kaplan filed the first complaint in the country in November 2016 alleging that defendants Baxter International, Baxter Healthcare, and Hospira—which together control approximately 90 percent of the market—orchestrated an artificial rise in prices under the pretext of a supply shortage.

“The complaint alleges that the defendants created a public health crisis—one that was avoidable and that unnecessarily drove up the cost of healthcare for hospitals and vulnerable patients,” said Hollis Salzman, co-chair of Robins Kaplan’s Antitrust and Trade Regulation group. “We look forward to pursuing this action, obtaining redress for hospitals and others that have paid a higher price resulting from the defendants’ alleged collusion.”

According to the allegations in the complaint, beginning in 2013 the defendants undertook extensive efforts to create a supply shortage that would justify price increases, including allocating the volume of product that each would place on the market. In addition, as the purported shortage extended over time, it became the subject of Congressional scrutiny. Approximately one year ago, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate possible collusion among saline suppliers, which it noted “are reported to have increased their prices by 200-300 percent.” The letter continued: “This equates to increased annual costs to individual hospitals in the range of hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.”

As court-appointed co-lead counsel, Robins Kaplan represents a proposed class of direct purchasers, including hospitals, that purchased IV saline solution after January 1, 2013. Providers of IV saline solution generate in excess of $1.2 billion in annual revenue. 

The case is Washington County Health Care Authority, Inc. et al. vs. Baxter International Inc., et al. It is pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois before the Hon. John J. Tharp, Jr.

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