Photograph by Philippe Huguen — AFP/Getty Images
By Reuters
March 30, 2015

(REUTERS) — GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to settle a lawsuit by Johnson & Johnson accusing it of using false advertising at the start of the U.S. allergy season to grab market share.

The settlement was disclosed during a hearing in Manhattan federal court on Monday in which two Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) units were expected to ask a judge to block Glaxo (GSK) from making various claims about its allergy nasal spray Flonase, records show.

Representatives for Johnson & Johnson and Glaxo in separate statements called the settlement “mutually acceptable and amicable.” The terms were confidential, they said.

Glaxo received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to sell Flonase over the counter in July, setting the stage for greater competition.

J&J units McNeil-PPC Inc and McNeil Consumer Healthcare filed the lawsuit on March 12, accusing Glaxo of making unsupported claims about Flonase at the expense of McNeil’s drugs Benadryl and Zyrtec.

A Glaxo TV spot cited in the lawsuit said that Flonase outperforms the No. 1 allergy pill, which the ad does not name, and controls six allergy symptoms versus one by the other pill.

The McNeil units said studies do not support the claims. McNeil said it stood to be harmed with the prime allergy sales season quickly approaching, and sought an injunction.

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