At least 18 major drug making companies and several executives have been charged with generic drug price-fixing collusion by the attorneys general of 45 states and the District of Columbia, in one of the largest such prosecutions in US medical history.
According to reports, the lawsuit targets 18 companies, 15 specific medicines, and two individual executives, the Indians Rajiv Malik, president and executive director of Mylan NV, and Satish Mehta, CEO and managing director of India’s Emcure Pharmaceuticals.
The prosecution says that the drugmakers and executives divided customers for their drugs among themselves, agreeing that each company would have a certain percentage of the market.
The companies sometimes agreed on price increases in advance, the states added.
The states said Malik and Mehta spoke directly to one another to agree on their companies’ shares of the market for a delayed-release version of a common antibiotic, doxycycline hyclate.
“It is our belief that price-fixing is systematic, it is pervasive, and that a culture of collusion exists in the industry,” Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen, who is leading the case, told a news conference.
Another respondent, Emcure, saw two former executives of one of its subsidiary companies, Heritage Pharmaceuticals, plead guilty in January to federal charges of conspiring to fix prices and divide up the market for doxycycline and the diabetes drug glyburide.
The two Jews, former Heritage president Jason Malek and former chairman and chief executive Jeffrey Glazer, formed part of an the original December 2016 lawsuit filed by twenty US states targeting, amongst others, Mylan, Heritage, Aurobindo Pharma USA Inc, Citron Pharma LLC, Mayne Pharma USA Inc and Israel’s Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc.
Malek and Glazer each agreed to pay $25,000 and cooperate with the state probe.
Reuters said that “soaring drug prices from both branded and generic drug manufacturers have sparked outrage and investigations in the United States,” and that President Donald Trump this year accused pharmaceutical companies of “getting away with murder” with their drug pricing.
Executives like Mylan’s Bresch and former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli have been called in front of Congress to defend the cost of their products.
The states are moving forward with a new complaint that would add Novartis AG’s unit Sandoz, India-based Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, Endo International PLC’s unit Par Pharmaceutical, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Apotex Corp, Glenmark Generics Ltd, Lannett Company Inc, Alkem Laboratories Ltd’s unit Ascend Laboratories and Cadila Healthcare Ltd’s unit Zydus Pharmaceuticals Inc.