Eric Schneiderman for Attorney General

Six firms hit with antitrust lawsuits over collusion, price fixing

December 16, 2016

As published by the New York Daily News on December 15, 2016.

Attorneys general from 20 states, including New York, have filed an antitrust lawsuit against six major pharmaceutical companies for conspiring and price fixing generic drugs.

The lawsuit alleges that there is a widespread conspiracy among the companies to reduce competition and increase prices for generic prescription drugs.

Heritage Pharmaceuticals, Aurobindo Pharma USA, Citron Pharma, Mayne Pharma, Mylan Pharmaceuticals and Teva Pharmaceuticals are all accused of colluding to “artificially inflate and manipulate prices” for the antibiotic doxycycline hyclate delayed release and glyburide, an oral diabetes medication.

“Generic drugs play a critical role in moderating healthcare costs for all New Yorkers,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. “Companies that collude and fix prices for generic drugs in order to pad their profits must be held accountable for the very real harm they inflict on New Yorkers’ ability to pay for life-saving medications.”

Senior drug company executives, along with marketing and sales executives, met up at industry trade shows, customer conferences and other events to hatch the plot, according to Schneiderman. They also communicated via text, phone, and email “to fix and maintain prices, allocate markets and otherwise thwart competition,” the states allege.

The scheme was uncovered by an in-depth investigation, which is ongoing, that was began in Connecticut in 2014.

The executives’ efforts “caused significant, harmful and continuing effects in the country’s healthcare system,” the states allege.

In addition to New York, and led by the Connecticut attorney general, the plaintiff states in this lawsuit are Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.

Generic drug sales in 2015 were estimated at $74.5 billion.

Currently, the generic pharmaceutical industry accounts for approximately 88% of all prescriptions written in the U.S.