Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is meeting the press this morning to discuss a lawsuit against major drug companies.
Attorney General Letitia James joined 43 states led by Connecticut Attorney General William Tong in announcing a lawsuit against Teva Pharmaceuticals and 19 of the nation’s largest generic drug manufacturers alleging a broad conspiracy to artificially inflate and manipulate prices, reduce competition, and unreasonably restrain trade for more than 100 different generic drugs. The drugs at issue account for billions of dollars of sales in the United States. The States allege that the Defendants’ conduct artificially increased prices to health insurers, taxpayer-funded healthcare programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and individuals who paid and continue to pay inflated prices for their prescription drugs.
The complaint alleges that Teva, Sandoz, Mylan, Pfizer and 16 other generic drug manufacturers engaged in a broad, coordinated and systematic conspiracy to fix prices, allocate markets, and rig bids for more than 100 different generic drugs. The drugs span all types, including tablets, capsules, suspensions, creams, gels, and ointments; and classes, including statins, ace inhibitors, beta blockers, antibiotics, anti-depressants, contraceptives, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They treat a range of diseases and conditions from basic infections to diabetes, cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, HIV, ADHD, and more. In some instances, the coordinated price increases were over 1,000 percent.
The complaint lays out an interconnected web of industry executives where these competitors who met with each other during industry dinners, lunches, cocktail parties, golf outings and communicated via frequent telephone calls, emails, and text messages sowing the seeds for their illegal agreements. Throughout the complaint, defendants are described as using terms like “fair share,” “playing nice in the sandbox,” and “responsible competitor” to describe how they unlawfully discouraged competition, raised prices, and enforced an ingrained culture of collusion.
The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, seeks damages, civil penalties, and equitable relief to restore competition to the generic drug market.