Delaware joins 19 states in lawsuit against drug companies

(File/WHYY)

(File/WHYY)

Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn is among 20 attorneys general filing a lawsuit against several drug companies.

Twenty state attorneys general, including Delaware’s Matt Denn, have filed a federal lawsuit against several U.S. generic drug makers for allegedly entering illegal conspiracies to restrain trade, artificially inflate and manipulate prices and reduce competition for an antibiotic and an oral diabetes medication.

The states say the alleged misconduct was led by senior drug executives and their marketing and sales executives of the companies Heritage Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Aurobindo Pharma USA, Inc., Citron Pharma, LLC, Mayne Pharma (USA), Inc., Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.

Attorney General Denn, D-Delaware, was unable to comment because the investigation is ongoing, a spokesman for his office said.

In addition to Delaware, the plaintiff states in this lawsuit are Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington.  

In July 2014, Connecticut opened an investigation into “suspicious” price increases of certain generic pharmaceuticals. The ongoing investigation uncovered evidence of years-long, extensive and well-coordinated conspiracies to fix prices and allocate markets for a number of generic pharmaceuticals in the U.S., according to Denn’s office.

The defendants are accused of coordinating the agenda through contact with their competitors at industry trade shows, customer conferences and other events, as well as through direct email, phone and text message.

The states say those involved were aware their conduct was illegal, and even deleted written communication after learning about the investigation.

They also say the alleged schemes caused significant, harmful and continuing effects in the country’s healthcare system.

The states are asking the courts to demand substantial financial relief to address the alleged violations of law, and to restore competition.

In 2015, generic drug sales in the United States were estimated at $74.5 billion. Today, the generic pharmaceutical industry accounts for about 88 percent of all prescriptions written in the U.S.

WHYY reached out to all the companies accused of misconduct. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. respond to the request.

A spokesperson for Mylan stated in an email, “To date, we know of no evidence that Mylan participated in price fixing.”

A spokesperson for Teva said in an email, “To date, we have not found any evidence of price fixing within Teva and so on the facts we vigorously deny any allegations of wrongdoing.”  

 

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.