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States sue 20 generic drug companies and 15 executives for allegedly conspiring to fix prices for more than 100 drugs

A Variety of Pills BacklitA 44-state coalition of attorneys general is suing Teva Pharmaceuticals and 19 of the nation's largest generic drug manufacturers alleging a conspiracy to increase prices and reduce competition for more than 100 generic drugs.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court, also names 15 individual senior executive defendants, leaders of the conspiracy, who were responsible for sales, marketing, pricing, and operations. The drugs make up billions of dollars of sales in the United States, and the alleged schemes increased prices affecting the health insurance market, taxpayer-funded healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, and individuals who had to pay artificially-inflated prices for their prescriptions drugs.

All types of drugs were included – tablets, capsules, suspensions, creams, gels, and ointments – as well as many classes of drugs – statins, ace inhibitors, beta blockers, antibiotics, anti-depressants, contraceptives, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The drugs treat a range of diseases and conditions from basic infections to diabetes, cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, HIV, ADHD, and more. In some cases, the coordinated price increases were more than 1,000 percent.

The lawsuit lays out an interconnected web of industry executives where these competitors met during industry dinners, "girls nights out," lunches, cocktail parties, and golf outings, and communicated by telephone calls, emails, and text messages that laid the groundwork for their illegal agreements. The lawsuit said defendants used terms such as "fair share," "playing nice in the sandbox," and "responsible competitor" to describe how they unlawfully discouraged competition, raised prices, and enforced a culture of collusion.

The lawsuit seeks damages, penalties, and actions by the court to restore competition to the generic drug market.

"We have hard evidence that shows the generic drug industry perpetrated a multi-billion-dollar fraud on the American people,” said Connecticut Attorney General William Tong. “We have emails, text messages, telephone records, and former company insiders that we believe will prove a multi-year conspiracy to fix prices and divide market share for huge numbers of generic drugs.”

The drugs included in the lawsuit are ones that people rely on every day for acute and chronic conditions and diseases ranging from diabetes and cancer to depression and arthritis, said Tong.

“We all wonder why our healthcare, and specifically the prices for generic prescription drugs, are so expensive in this country – this is a big reason why,” he said. “This investigation is still in its early stages. We will not stop until these companies and the individuals who orchestrated these schemes are held accountable.” 

The lawsuit is the second to be filed in an ongoing investigation that the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office has referred to as possibly the largest cartel case in the U.S. history. 

The first lawsuit, pending in federal court, was filed in 2016 and now includes 18 corporate defendants, two individual defendants, and 15 generic drugs. Two former executives from Heritage Pharmaceuticals, Jeffery Glazer and Jason Malek, have entered into settlement agreements and are cooperating with the attorneys general working group in that case, Tong said. 

In addition to Connecticut, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Puerto Rico joined the lawsuit. 

Corporate defendants

  1. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc.
  2. Sandoz Inc.
  3. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc.
  4. Actavis Holdco US Inc.
  5. Actavis Pharma Inc.
  6. Amneal Pharmaceuticals Inc.
  7. Apotex Corp.
  8. Aurobindo Pharma U.S.A. Inc.
  9. Breckenridge Pharmaceutical Inc.
  10. Reddy’s Laboratories Inc.
  11. Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Inc. USA
  12. Greenstone LLC
  13. Lannett Company Inc.
  14. Lupin Pharmaceuticals Inc.
  15. Par Pharmaceutical Companies Inc.
  16. Pfizer Inc.
  17. Taro Pharmaceuticals USA Inc.
  18. Upsher-Smith Laboratories LLC
  19. Wockhardt USA LLC
  20. Zydus Pharmaceuticals (USA) Inc.

Individual defendants

  1. Ara Aprahamian, vice president of sales and marketing at Taro Pharmaceuticals U.S.A. Inc.
  2. David Berthold, vice president of sales at Lupin Pharmaceuticals Inc. 
  3. James Brown, vice president of sales at Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Inc. 
  4. Maureen Cavanaugh, former senior vice president and chief commercial officer, North America, for Teva
  5. Marc Falkin, former vice president, marketing, pricing, and contracts at Actavis
  6. James Grauso, former senior vice president, commercial operations for Aurobindo from December 2011 through January 2014. Since February 2014, Grauso has been employed as the executive vice president, N.A. commercial operations at Glenmark
  7. Kevin Green, former director of national accounts at Teva from January 2006 through October 2013. Since November 2013, Green has worked at Zydus Pharmaceuticals (USA) Inc. as the vice president of sales
  8. Armando Kellum, former vice president, contracting and business analytics at Sandoz
  9. Jill Nailor, senior director of sales and national accounts at Greenstone
  10. James Nesta, vice president of sales at Mylan
  11. Kon Ostaficiuk, the president of Camber Pharmaceuticals Inc.
  12. Nisha Patel, former director of strategic customer marketing, and later, director of national accounts at Teva.
  13. David Rekenthaler, former vice president, sales US generics at Teva
  14. Richard Rogerson, former executive director of pricing and business analytics at Actavis
  15. Tracy Sullivan DiValerio, director of national accounts at Lannett

Drugs listed in the lawsuit as being included in price-fixing and market allocation agreements:

  1. Adapalene Gel
  2. Amiloride HCL/HCTZ Tablets 
  3. Amoxicillin/Clavulanate Chewable Tablets
  4. Amphetamine/Dextroamphetamine ER (aka Mixed Amphetamine Salts)
  5. Amphetamine/Dextroamphetamine IR
  6. Azithromycin Oral Suspension
  7. Azithromycin Suspension
  8. Baclofen Tablets 
  9. Benazepril HCTZ
  10. Bethanechol Chloride Tablets 
  11. Budesonide DR Capsules
  12. Budesonide Inhalation
  13. Bumetanide Tablets 
  14. Buspirone Hydrochloride Tablets
  15. Cabergoline
  16. Capecitabine
  17. Carbamazepine Chewable Tablets 
  18. Carbamazepine Tablets 
  19. Cefdinir Capsules
  20. Cefdinir Oral Suspension
  21. Cefprozil Tablets 
  22. Celecoxib
  23. Cephalexin Suspension 
  24. Cimetidine Tablets 
  25. Ciprofloxacin Tablets 
  26. Clarithromycin ER Tablets 
  27. Clemastine Fumarate Tablets 
  28. Clomipramine HCL
  29. Clonidine TTS Patch
  30. Clotrimazole Topical Solution 
  31. Cyproheptadine HCL Tablets 
  32. Desmopressin Acetate Tablets 
  33. Desogestrel/Ethinyl Estradiol Tablets (Kariva)
  34. Dexmethylphenidate
  35. Dextroamphetamine Sulfate ER
  36. Diclofenac Potassium Tablets
  37. Dicloxacillin Sodium Capsules 
  38. Diflunisal Tablets 
  39. Diltiazem HCL Tablets
  40. Disopyramide Phosphate Capsules 
  41. Doxazosin Mesylate Tablets
  42. Drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol (Ocella)
  43. Enalapril Maleate Tablets
  44. Entecavir
  45. Epitol Tablets
  46. Estazolam Tablets
  47. Estradiol Tablets 
  48. Ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel (Portia and Jolessa) 
  49. Ethosuximide Capsules 
  50. Ethosuximide Oral Solution
  51. Etodolac ER Tablets
  52. Etodolac Tablets
  53. Fenofibrate
  54. Fluconazole Tablets
  55. Fluocinonide Cream
  56. Fluocinonide Emolient Cream
  57. Fluocinonide Gel
  58. Fluocinonide Ointment
  59. Fluoxetine HCL Tablets
  60. Flurbiprofen Tablets
  61. Flutamide Capsules
  62. Fluvastatin Sodium Capsules
  63. Gabapentin Tablets
  64. Glimepiride Tablets
  65. Griseofulvin Suspension
  66. Haloperidol
  67. Hydroxyurea Capsules 
  68. Hydroxyzine Pamoate Capsules
  69. Irbesartan
  70. Isoniazid
  71. Ketoconazole Cream
  72. Ketoconazole Tablets
  73. Ketoprofen Capsules
  74. Ketorolac Tromethamine Tablets
  75. Labetalol HCL Tablets
  76. Lamivudine/Zidovudine (generic Combivir) 
  77. Levothyroxine
  78. Loperamide HCL Capsules 
  79. Medroxyprogesterone Tablets
  80. Methotrexate Tablets
  81. Mimvey (Estradiol/Noreth) Tablets
  82. Moexipril HCL Tablets
  83. Moexipril HCL/HCTZ Tablets
  84. Nabumetone Tablets 
  85. Nadolol Tablets
  86. Niacin ER Tablets
  87. Nitrofurantoin MAC Capsules 
  88. Norethindrone/ethinyl estradiol (Balziva)
  89. Northindrone Acetate
  90. Nortriptylline Hydrochloride Capsules
  91. Omega-3-Acid Ethyl Esters
  92. Oxaprozin Tablets
  93. Oxybutynin Chloride Tablets
  94. Paricalcitol
  95. Penicillin VK Tablets
  96. Pentoxifylline Tablets
  97. Piroxicam
  98. Pravastatin Sodium Tablets
  99. Prazosin HCL Capsules
  100. Prochlorperazine Tablets
  101. Propranolol HCL Tablets 
  102. Raloxifine HCL Tablets
  103. Ranitidine HCL Tablets
  104. Tamoxifen Citrate Tablets
  105. Temozolomide
  106. Tizanidine
  107. Tobramycin
  108. Tolmetin Sodium Capsules 
  109. Tolterodine ER
  110. Tolterodine Tartrate
  111. Topiramate Sprinkle Capsules
  112. Trifluoperazine HCL
  113. Valsartan HCTZ
  114. Warfarin Sodium Tablets
Copyright 2019, Rita R. Robison, Personal Finance Writer

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