Categorized | Colorado News, National News, News

States Allege Price Fixing by Generic Drug Makers

Attorneys General from forty-four states have filed a lawsuit in federal court in Connecticut alleging the nation’s largest generic drug manufacturers conspired to artificially inflate and manipulate prices for more than 100 different generic drugs, including treatments for diabetes, cancer, arthritis and other medical conditions. Also named are 15 individual senior executives responsible for sales, marketing and pricing.

“We have hard evidence that shows the generic drug industry perpetrated a multibillion dollar fraud on the American people,” CT Attorney General William Tong said. “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.”

Investigators said the drugs covered in the suit account for billions of dollars of sales in the United States by the 20 firms named.

“The allegations in this new complaint, and in the litigation more generally, are just that — allegations,” Kelley Dougherty, a Teva Pharmaceuticals vice president, said in a statement. “The company delivers high-quality medicines to patients around the world and is committed to complying with all applicable laws and regulations in doing so.”

Read more in Associated Press News

Colorado joins the other states in the lawsuit alleging price fixing of generic drugs. Teva and other companies raised prices between July 2013 and January 2015 on about 112 generic drugs — some with price increases of more than 1,000 percent, according to the complaint. The lawsuit called it an overarching conspiracy that attempted to thwart competition in the generic drug industry and resulted in inflated drug prices.

Read more in The Denver Post

“Bottle of Lies” by Katherine Eban exposes a dark side of generic drugs.

The generic drug boom began in the mid-1980s, when pharmaceutical giants such as Pfizer dominated the market. In response to rising costs and complaints over the influence of “big Pharma,” Congress unanimously passed the Hatch-Waxman Act in 1984, which created a new regulatory track for generic drugs. As long as generic manufacturers could prove their drugs were bioequivalent to brand-name drugs, meaning they acted similarly in the body, they could get approved. It was a boon for generic drugmakers, and in principle for the American public, allowing market competition to yield less expensive but equivalent drugs.

“In theory, all the companies had to follow the same rigid set of good manufacturing practices,” she writes. “But for companies that were inclined to emphasize profits instead of quality, there were many avenues for improvisation, and shortcuts”.

Read about the FDA’s role in regulating generic drugs in the National Public Radio review

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