Leading pharmaceutical companies sued in US for conspiring to drive up generics prices

pharmafile | June 11, 2020 | News story | Business Services drugs, generics, lawsuit, price fixing, price-fixing 

26 pharmaceutical companies are being sued by most US states for allegedly conspiring to reduce competition and drive up generic drug prices.

This includes Sandoz, Teva, Mylan and Pfizer, with the charges stating they carried out this scheme to rig the market between 2009 and 2016 for more than 80 drugs.

Attorney Generals from 46 states, the District of Columbia and four other US territories are all suing, adding that the companies prioritised profit over the public interest to deprive millions of Americans access to the lower prices generics are meant to provide. Ten high level executives are named in the lawsuit.

Some of the drugs that the companies are alleged to have committed price fixing on included Ritalin, Xalatan, Differin, Dilantin and Lotrimin AF Cream.

William Tong, the Connecticut Attorney General, said on the lawsuit: “Through phone calls, text messages, emails, corporate conventions, and cozy dinner parties, generic pharmaceutical executives were in constant communication, colluding to fix prices and restrain competition. They took steps to evade accountability.”

Novartis, who owns Sandoz, believes its misconduct has already been resolved when it entered a $195 million settlement with the US Department of Justice in March. In a statement, Novartis spokesman Eric Althoff said: “The individual instances of misconduct at the core of the resolution we reached with the U.S. Department of Justice in March do not support the vast, systemic conspiracy the states allege. We take seriously our compliance with antitrust laws, and we will continue to defend ourselves in this matter.”

Mylan and Pfizer both have responded stating the charges are not founded in evidence. This case is the third major complaint in the six-year investigation by states that accuse these companies of widespread price fixing.

Conor Kavanagh

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