Weiser joins coalition of 51 attorneys general in filing third lawsuit in ongoing investigation into generic drug industry
Corporations, individuals accused of fixing prices, reducing competition, restraining trade
June 10, 2020 (DENVER, Colo.)—Attorney General Phil Weiser today joined a coalition of 51 attorneys general in filing the third lawsuit stemming from the ongoing antitrust investigation into a widespread conspiracy by generic drug manufacturers to artificially inflate and manipulate prices, reduce competition, and unreasonably restrain trade for generic drugs sold across the United States.
This new lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, focuses on 80 topical generic drugs that account for billions of dollars of sales in the United States. The complaint names 26 corporate defendants and 10 individual defendants. The lawsuit seeks damages, civil penalties, and actions by the court to restore competition to the generic drug market.
“Too many Coloradans forgo fulfilling a prescription due to its cost, regardless of the potential consequences to their health. No one should be forced to make that choice,” Weiser said. “A conspiracy to fix prices and reduce competition on this scale is shocking not only on account of its impact on consumers, but also on account of the blatant anticompetitive actions perpetrated by the manufacturers. We will continue fighting to hold these companies and individuals accountable for their egregious anticompetitive behavior.”
Between 2007 and 2014, three generic drug manufacturers, Taro, Perrigo, and Fougera (now Sandoz) sold nearly two-thirds of all generic topical products dispensed in the United States. The multistate investigation has uncovered comprehensive, direct evidence of unlawful agreements to minimize competition and raise prices on dozens of topical products. The lawsuit alleges longstanding agreements among manufacturers to ensure a “fair share” of the market for each competitor, and to prevent “price erosion” due to competition.
These agreements have harmed those who cannot afford to fulfill a prescription due to the high cost of the drugs. In 2019, more than 500,000 Coloradans did not fulfill a prescription for medication due to the cost, according to the Colorado Health Access Survey.
The updated lawsuit stems from an ongoing investigation built on evidence from several cooperating witnesses at the core of the conspiracy, a massive document database of over 20 million documents, and a phone records database containing millions of call detail records and contact information for over 600 sales and pricing individuals in the generics industry. Among the records obtained by the States is a two-volume notebook containing the contemporaneous notes of one of the States’ cooperators that memorialized his discussions during phone calls with competitors and internal company meetings over a period of several years.
In May 2019, Weiser joined a lawsuit against Teva Pharmaceuticals and 19 of the nation’s largest generic drug manufacturers. That lawsuit names 16 individual senior executive Defendants. The litigating States are currently preparing for trial on that complaint, which is pending in a Pennsylvania federal court.
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