‘It’s outrageous that these companies colluded’; Utah joins lawsuit alleging generic drug price fixing

Photo by Julia_Sudnitskaya/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes announced Monday that the state has joined 44 other states in a lawsuit against Teva Pharmaceuticals and 19 of the nation’s largest generic drug manufacturers.

According to a press release from Reyes’ office, the suit alleges a broad conspiracy to artificially inflate and manipulate prices as well as reduce competition for more than 100 different generic drugs.

“The price fixing case against these pharmaceutical companies has been building for years, and it’s time we hold them accountable for manipulating the market,” Reyes said in the press release. “It’s outrageous that these companies colluded to inflate prices on generic drugs that should be affordable and increase quality of life for many people, like antibiotics and asthma medication.”

The complaint alleges that Teva, Sandoz, Mylan, Pfizer and 16 other generic drug manufacturers engaged in a broad, coordinated and systematic campaign to conspire with each other to fix prices, allocate markets and rig bids for more than 100 different generic drugs.

The lawsuit lays out an interconnected web of industry executives meeting with each other to unlawfully discourage competition. This “web” includes emails, text messages, telephone records and former company insiders and reflects a multiyear conspiracy to fix prices and divide the market share for huge numbers of generic drugs. In some instances, the coordinated price increases were over 1,000 percent.

The drugs span all types – including tablets, capsules, suspensions, creams, gels and ointments – and all classes – including statins, ace inhibitors, beta blockers, antibiotics, antidepressants, contraceptives and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs are used to treat a range of diseases and conditions from basic infections to diabetes, cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, HIV, ADHD and more.

The complaint is the second to be filed in an ongoing, expanding investigation that has been referred to as possibly the largest cartel case in the history of the United States.

In addition to Utah, other joining states 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, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Puerto Rico.

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