44 states file price-fixing suit against generic drugmakers

Attorneys general from 44 states are suing the nation's largest generic drugmakers, claiming they conspired to inflate prices of more than 100 generic drugs by as much as 1,000 percent, according to The New York Times.

The lawsuit, filed May 10, claims more than a dozen generic drugmakers, including Teva Pharmaceuticals, Mylan and subsidiaries of Pfizer and Novartis, were part of a wide-reaching price-fixing scheme involving generic HIV medications, asthma treatments, oral antibiotics, blood thinners, cancer drugs, contraceptives, antidepressants and other drugs.

The lawsuit also names 15 individual senior executives responsible for sales, marketing and pricing decisions at their respective organizations.

"We all know that prescription drugs can be expensive," Gurbir Grewal, the New Jersey attorney general, told The New York Times. "Now we know that high drug prices have been driven in part by an illegal conspiracy among generic drug companies to inflate their prices."

According to the lawsuit, most of the illegal collusive activity occurred from July 2013 to January 2015. During that time, Teva raised the price of nearly 400 formulations of 112 generic drugs. As part of the scheme, competitors agreed to cooperate on pricing so each company could maintain a "fair share" of the drug market and colluded to raise prices on as many drugs as possible, the suit claims.

While the complaint paints Teva as the leader in the price-fixing, it describes the conduct as "pervasive and industrywide."

Teva has denied the allegations.

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