Maine joins antitrust lawsuit against generic drugmakers


16 December, 2016

The Minnesota Attorney General is joining 19 other states in a lawsuit against six major prescription drug manufacturers for price-fixing widely used generic medicine.

The attorneys general, including New York's Eric Schneiderman and Connecticut's George Jepsen, alleged in a suit filed in CT federal court that Heritage Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Aurobindo Pharma USA Inc.; Citron Pharma LLC; Mayne Pharma Inc.; Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc.; and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. conspired to manipulate prices for doxycycline hyclate, an antibiotic, and glyburide, used in the treatment of diabetes.

Heritage Pharmaceuticals' former president Jason Malek and former CEO Jeffrey Glazer were charged with colluding to "rig bids, and fix and maintain prices of doxycycline hyclate sold in the United States", according to a court filing.

Asked for comment on Thursday, a spokesman for Heritage referred to their comment from the previous day, which blamed the former executives for the price-fixing and said that they had been terminated.

The lawsuit contends that whenever one of these companies would enter into the generics market for a certain drug, the group of defendants would allegedly conspire to determine how much of the market share each participant in the conspiracy would receive.

CT and 19 other states filed a lawsuit on Thursday against Mylan NV, Teva Pharmaceuticals and four other generic drug makers saying they entered into illegal conspiracies that raised prices on two common generic drugs, the NY state attorney general's office said in a statement.

The companies have been accused of violating federal antitrust laws by conspiring to allocate the market for these two drugs and collectively raising prices on the drugs.

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The antitrust action was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of CT against Heritage Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Auribindo Pharma USA, Inc, Citron Pharma, LLC, Mayne Pharma (USA), Inc., Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc.and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.

Employees knew the conduct was illegal and either deleted emails or made efforts to avoid communicating in writing, the lawsuit alleges.

U.S. prosecutors said Wednesday that leading pharmaceutical companies, including Teva Pharmaceuticals and Mylan, have received subpoenas in a wide-ranging antitrust probe of the industry.

"To date, we know of no evidence that Mylan participated in price fixing", company spokeswoman Nina Devlin told Reuters.

The other plaintiff states are Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.

The antitrust lawsuit, filed today in federal court in CT, alleges the drug companies' actions reduced competition and led to artificially higher prices for consumers.

The lawyer representing Malek in that case said he could not comment when reached Wednesday afternoon.

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