Centene, Humana sue Merck, allege 'monopolistic scheme' to inflate drug prices

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Centene and Humana each filed a lawsuit Sept. 22 alleging pharmaceutical company Merck stifled generic drug competition to inflate prices for Zetia and Vytorin, which treat high cholesterol. 

The independent lawsuits allege Merck fielded a "monopolistic scheme" that allowed them to maintain strong profits as new chemical exclusivity periods drew to a close. 

According to the lawsuits, both Merck and Glenmark Pharmaceuticals colluded to maintain control over Zetia and Vytorin and bring in profits, both by delaying Glenmark's authorized generic and not releasing a Merck generic. 

By the time Glenmark entered the market after planned delays, the insurers overpaid hundreds of millions of dollars for the drugs, the lawsuits allege. 

Merck and Glenmark did not reply to Becker's requests for comment at the time of publication.

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