Medical testing supplier Roche Diagnostics Corp. has agreed to pay $17 million to potentially tens of thousands of pharmacies to settle Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) claims. Those claims are in a putative class action over unwanted faxes sent to pharmacies. The settlement proposal was filed in an Indiana federal court on March 16. The putative class action from family-owned, Arkansas-based Econo-Med Pharmacy Inc. alleged Indianapolis-based Roche violated the TCPA with “junk faxes.” The parties reached the $17 million agreement to end the suit earlier this year at a mediation.

The proposed settlement class includes all pharmacies that received a fax from Roche from April 11, 2012, through the date of the settlement’s preliminary approval. Based on Roche’s internal records the class could be tens of thousands of members. Each member is expected to receive at least $500. The complaint, filed in April 2016, says Roche sent Econo-Med multiple “junk faxes,” including an unsolicited advertisement for Accu-Chek test strips in January 2016 in violation of the Indiana Deceptive Consumer Sales Act and TCPA. It was alleged in the complaint that the faxes did not contain opt-out notices as required by the TCPA.

The court stayed the action while Roche waited on a response to a waiver application in front of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In November 2016, the FCC said Roche’s request was granted through April 30, 2015, meaning any noncompliant faxes without opt-out information sent after that date are subject to TCPA liability. After the FCC’s decision, the parties agreed to mediate the suit.

Econo-Med and the proposed settlement class are represented by Irwin B. Levin and Vess A. Miller of Cohen & Malad LLP and Randall K. Pulliam and Tiffany Wyatt Oldham of Carney Bates & Pulliam PLLC. The case is Econo-Med Pharmacy Inc. v. Roche Diagnostics Corp. (case number 1:16-cv-00789) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.


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