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Ferguson sues major pharmaceutical companies for driving up costs on generic drugs

OLYMPIA, Washington — Attorney General Bob Ferguson and 43 other attorneys general filed a lawsuit last week against Teva Pharmaceuticals, the largest generic drug manufacturer in the world, and 20 other companies for conspiring in secret to increase prices of 116 common medications, including everyday antibiotics, antidepressants, contraceptives and statins.

According to a press release issued by Ferguson’s office, the alleged crime is one of the most egregious and damaging price-fixing schemes in United States history.  Teva and its co-conspirators raised prices on some drugs by well over 1,000 percent at the height of the conspiracy from July 2013 to January 2015. One blood pressure medication increased by as much as 2,700 percent.

According to the lawsuit, filed May 10 in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, the companies created an anticompetitive culture in the generic drug industry and met routinely to agree to raise prices of generic drugs in violation of state and federal antitrust laws and the Washington State Consumer Protection Act.

The lawsuit names 21 generic drug manufacturers as conspirators in the price-fixing scheme: Teva, Sandoz, Mylan, Pfizer, Actavis, Amneal, Apotex, Aurobindo, Breckenridge, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Glenmark, Greenstone, Lannett, Lupin, Par, Rising, Taro Israel, Taro USA, Upsher-Smith, Wockhardt USA and Zydus.

“These pharmaceutical manufacturers conspired to raise prices of generic prescription drugs, driving up health care costs and making it harder for millions of Washingtonians to access affordable care,” Attorney General Ferguson said. “Our friends and neighbors cannot afford to pay inflated drug prices to increase the profits of pharmaceutical companies. This is one of the most damaging price-fixing conspiracies in history – we’re going to hold those responsible accountable.”

In 2015, sales of generic drugs in the United States were estimated at $74.5 billion. The lawsuit estimates that the alleged conduct resulted in billions of dollars of overcharges nationwide. These overcharges likely affected millions of Washingtonians.

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