Top Indian drug makers accused of fixing prices

Top Indian drug makers accused of fixing prices”

Alabama is one of more than 40 states to have filed a suit against a host of drug makers accusing them of artificially inflating and manipulating prices and conspiring to reduce competition.

"We have hard evidence that shows the generic drug industry perpetrated a multi-billion dollar fraud on the American people", Tong said in a statement.

Connecticut's new attorney general, William Tong, is dramatically expanding the scope and raising the profile of the state's long-running investigation of drug price-fixing, accusing the generic drug industry of a massive anti-trust conspiracy that has cost American consumers, taxpayers and insurers billions of dollars.

The lawsuit comes amid increasing attention by the Trump administration and both major parties to the prices of drugs, branded and generic alike.

The logo of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is seen during a news conference to discuss the company's 2019 outlooks in Tel Aviv, Israel, February 19, 2019.

The 20 drug companies engaged in illegal conspiracies to divide up the market for drugs to avoid competing and, in some cases, conspired to either prevent prices from dropping or to raise them, according to the complaint by 44 U.S. states, filed on Friday in the U.S. District Court in CT.

Then, starting in 2012, the suit alleges that Teva and the other companies colluded to not only maintain their respective shares of the market, but raise prices on as many drugs as possible, with a particular focus on what it called "High Quality" competitors, whose products overlapped with its own. Other companies named in the report include Pfizer Inc.

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"The allegations in this new complaint, and in the litigation more generally, are just that - allegations", TEVA told Reuters.

The suit alleges that the generic drugmakers had for years avoided competing with each other - and thus keeping prices down - and instead deliberately divided the market according to their "fair share" of customers, which created an artificial equilibrium in the market. The first suit filed in 2016 named 18 corporate defendants and two individual defendants.

The suit says that the size of the price increases varied but was over 1,000 percent for a number of the drugs.

Likewise, Pfizer issued a statement Saturday saying its generic-producing subsidiary, Greenstone, "has been a reliable and trusted supplier of affordable generic medicines for decades and intends to vigorously defend against these claims".

"When communications were reduced to writing or text messages, defendants often took overt and calculated steps to destroy evidence of those communications", according to the suit. Two former drug company executives entered into settlement agreements and are cooperating with the attorneys general in the investigation.

Officials are asking for the court to find that the defendants' actions violated federal and state antitrust and consumer protection laws.

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