A coalition of attorneys general, including Alabama’s very own Attorney General Steve Marshall, was recently announced involving an antitrust lawsuit that was filed against 20 of the nation’s largest generic drug makers and 15 of their senior executives. The attorneys general of 44 states have alleged that the Defendant drug makers conspired with each other from July 2013 to January 2015 to artificially inflate and fix prices, allocate market share, and reduce competition for more than 100 generic drugs. The drugs at issue span all types and treat a wide range of conditions, from infections to diabetes, cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, HIV, ADHD and more.
The complaint is the second to be filed since 2016 in an ongoing, expanding investigation into generic drug pricing. As the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office announced in a recent press release, the complaint describes the frequent calls, emails and text messages between senior executives for the drug makers that evidence their scheme of raising drug prices and stifling competition. The industry executives allegedly carried out their illegal deals during meetings and social events such as lunches, dinners, parties and golf outings.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut against Teva, Sandoz, Mylan, Pfizer and 16 other generic drug makers. The 15 individual senior executives that were named as Defendants were accused of having responsibility for the sales, marketing, pricing and operations of the drugs at issue, that reportedly accounted for billions of dollars of sales in the United States.
The complaint filed by the attorneys general alleges that the anticompetitive scheme resulted in drug prices increasing in some instances more than 1,000%, which affects the health insurance market, Medicare and Medicaid, and private individuals who now must pay artificially inflated prices for their prescriptions. The suit was led by Connecticut Attorney General William Tong who said in a statement:
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. We all wonder why our health care, and specifically the prices for generic prescription drugs, are so expensive in this country – this is a big reason why.
Pharmaceutical costs have been skyrocketing in this country and lawsuits like this serve to hold the wrongdoers responsible and recoup taxpayer dollars. Lawyers in Beasley Allen’s Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section have represented at least nine states, through their Attorney General’s Office, in various pharmaceutical and health care litigation. We welcome the opportunity to investigate potential pharmaceutical fraud litigation of which you may be aware. If you have any questions about our firm’s health care fraud practice, contact Ali Hawthorne, a lawyer in our Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section, at 800-898-2034.
This story appears in the June issue of The Jere Beasley Report. For more like it, or to subscribe, visit the Report online.