Sacramento, CA - 44 states, led by Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, filed a 524 page lawsuit accusing Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc of orchestrating a sweeping scheme with 19 other drug companies to inflate drug prices - sometimes by more than 1,000% - and stifle competition for generic drugs, state prosecutors said on Saturday. California was not listed as a plaintiff in this new case.
The lawsuit accuses the generic drug industry, which mainly sells medicines that are off patent and should be less expensive, of a long history of discreet agreements to ensure that companies that are supposedly competitors each get a "fair share." The situation worsened in 2012, the complaint said.
"Apparently unsatisfied with the status quo of ‘fair share' and the mere avoidance of price erosion, Teva and its co-conspirators embarked on one of the most egregious and damaging price-fixing conspiracies in the history of the United States,: the complaint said.
With Teva at the center of the conspiracy, the drug companies colluded to significantly raise prices on 86 medicines between July 2013 and January 2015, the complaint said.
The drugs included everything from tablets and capsules to creams and ointments to treat conditions including diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cancer, epilepsy and more, they said. In some instances, the coordinated price increases were more than 1,000 percent, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit also names 15 individuals as defendants who it said carried out the schemes on a day-to-day basis.
"The level of corporate greed alleged in this multistate lawsuit is heartless and unconscionable," Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak said in a statement.
According to New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, more than half of the corporate defendants are based in New Jersey, and five of the individual defendants live in the state.
The lawsuit seeks damages, civil penalties and actions by the court to restore competition to the generic drug market.
Generic drugs can save drug buyers and taxpayers tens of billions of dollars a year because they are a lower-priced alternative to brand-name drugs.
The lawsuit filed on Friday is parallel to an action brought in December 2016 by the attorneys general of 45 states and the District of Columbia. That case was later expanded to include more than a dozen drugmakers. […]