46 State Attorneys General File Lawsuit Against 26 Drug Makers for Price Fixing

Connecticut AG William Tong calls it the 'largest domestic corporate cartel in our nation’s history'
June 12, 2020 Updated: June 12, 2020

Forty-six state attorneys general filed a lawsuit in Connecticut, June 10, against 26 drug manufacturers and 10 individuals for “conspiracy to allocate markets and fix prices for multiple generic drugs.”

The 543-page lawsuit (pdf) accuses the companies of fixing prices from at least 2009 through early 2016 on a wide range of products that include Ritalin, used to treat attention deficit disorder, attention hyperactivity disorder, and some sleep disorders.

The plaintiffs of the lawsuit are 46 states including Colorado, Florida, New York, Montana, and Washington. The defendants include 26 corporate drug manufacturers include Pfizer, Novartis, Mylan, Sandoz, John Wesolowski, and Wockhardt USA LLC and 10 individuals.

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong (D) accused the manufacturers in a statement of a “multibillion-dollar fraud” describing it as so “systemic that it has touched nearly every single consumer of topical products.”

Topical drugs include mostly drugs that are administered on the external body surface: creams, lotions, gels, ointments, and solutions.

“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,” Tong said.

The lawsuit said for many years the generic pharma has avoided competing with each other and have instead settled for getting a “fair share.”

“This understanding has permeated every segment of the industry, and the purpose of the agreement was to avoid competition among generic manufacturers that would normally result in lower prices and greater savings to the
ultimate consumer,” said the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Tong said his investigation is ongoing and expanding and the states are currently preparing for the trial. “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,” he said.

The defendants, Pfizer’s spokeswoman, Sally Beatty said in a statement to Reuters that the company doesn’t believe it engaged in unlawful conduct and Mylan’s spokeswoman, Lauren Kashtan said her company found no evidence about the accusation.

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