26 drug makers accused of price fixing on generics

26 drug makers accused of price fixing on generics
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Attorneys general from nearly every state are accusing 26 drug manufacturers of conspiring to raise prices on generic drugs used by millions of people.

The massive lawsuit filed on Wednesday, which also names Washington, D.C., and several U.S. territories as plaintiffs, accuses the companies of fixing prices on a wide range of drugs from the popular attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication Ritalin to others meant to treat acne.

Several larger manufacturers named in the suit including Pfizer, Novartis and Mylan rejected claims of illegal price fixing in statements to Reuters. A spokesperson for Novartis said that despite a major settlement the company paid with the Justice Department in March, the evidence “do[es] not support the vast, systemic conspiracy the states allege.”

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The 543-page lawsuit was filed in Connecticut and names 10 executives at the companies as individual defendants accused of perpetrating the scheme. Between 2009 and 2016, the companies allegedly made secret agreements to drive down competition on generic drugs while simultaneously raising prices. 

“These generic drug manufacturers perpetrated a multibillion-dollar fraud on the American public so systemic that it has touched nearly every single consumer of topical products. Through phone calls, text messages, emails, corporate conventions, and cozy dinner parties, generic pharmaceutical executives were in constant communication, colluding to fix prices and restrain competition as though it were a standard course of business," Connecticut Attorney General William Tong (D) said in a statement.

"Our case is built on hard evidence from multiple cooperating witnesses, millions of records, and contemporaneous notes that paint an undeniable picture of the largest domestic corporate cartel in our nation’s history. Our investigation is ongoing and expanding, and we will not rest until competition is restored and those responsible are held fully accountable,” he continued.