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Drug Companies Sued for Price Fixing by 44 StatesSalem-News.com
"This may be the largest cartel case in the history of the United States" -Connecticut Attorney General William Tong
(SALEM, Ore.) - In May, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum joined 43 states in a lawsuit against Teva Pharmaceuticals and 19 of the nation's largest generic drug manufacturers alleging a broad conspiracy to inflate and manipulate prices, reduce competition and restrain trade for more than 100 different generic drugs.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, also names 15 individual senior executive defendants who were responsible for sales, marketing, pricing and operations.
The drugs include tablets, capsules, suspensions, creams, gels, ointments, and classes, including statins, ace inhibitors, beta blockers, antibiotics, anti-depressants, contraceptives, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
These drugs treat a range of diseases and conditions from basic infections to diabetes, cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, HIV, ADHD, and more.
In some instances, the coordinated price increases were over 1,000%.
“These generic drugs make up a significant portion of the marketplace, and account for billions of dollars of sales in the United States.
"We allege that companies and executives conspired together to increase the prices of these important generic drugs that so many Americans depend on, and we all felt the effects.
"This alleged scheme meant higher prices for the health insurance market, Medicare and Medicaid, as well as individuals who depend on the drugs. We will not let these company take advantage of Oregonians,” said Attorney General Rosenblum.
The complaint alleges that Teva, Sandoz, Mylan, Pfizer and 16 other generic drug manufacturers engaged in a coordinated campaign to conspire to fix prices, allocate markets and rig bids for the different generic drugs.
The complaint lays out an interconnected web of industry executives where these competitors met with each other during industry dinners, "girls nights out", lunches, cocktail parties, golf outings and communicated via frequent telephone calls, emails and text messages that sowed the seeds for their illegal agreements.
The lawsuit seeks damages, civil penalties and actions by the court to restore competition to the generic drug market.
"We have hard evidence that shows the generic drug industry perpetrated a multi-billion dollar fraud on the American people. We have emails, text messages, telephone records, and former company insiders that we believe will prove a multi-year conspiracy to fix prices and divide market share for huge numbers of generic drugs," said Connecticut Attorney General William Tong.
"These are drugs that people in this country rely on every day for acute and chronic conditions and diseases from diabetes and cancer to depression and arthritis. We all wonder why our healthcare, and specifically the prices for generic prescription drugs, are so expensive in this country—this is a big reason why.
"This investigation is still in its early stages. We will not stop until these companies and the individuals who orchestrated these schemes are held accountable," added Attorney General Tong.
The complaint is the second in an ongoing, expanding multi-state investigation. The first lawsuit, still pending in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, was filed in 2016 and now includes 18 corporate defendants, two individual defendants, and references 15 generic drugs.
In addition to Oregon, other states who joined the suit include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Puerto Rico.
Drugs listed in the complaint as subject to price-fixing and market allocation agreements:
The Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) is led by Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, and serves as the state’s law firm. The Oregon DOJ advocates for and protects all Oregonians, especially the most vulnerable, such as children and seniors.
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