Drug price fixing claims on generics are being charged by 20 state attorneys general who sued a group of companies Thursday after federal authorities filed criminal charges against two former generic drug industry executives.
On Wednesday, federal prosecutors in Philadelphia charged Jeffrey Glazer, a former chief executive officer of Heritage Pharmaceuticals Inc., and Jason Malek, its ex-president, in a criminal information with two counts of conspiring to fix prices with other drug companies, Bloomberg reported.
Bloomberg said the charges came after a two-year investigation of the generic-drug industry.
"Millions of Americans rely on prescription medications to treat acute and chronic health conditions," deputy assistant attorney general Brent Snyder, of the Justice Department's antitrust division, said in a statement.
"By entering into unlawful agreements to fix prices and allocate customers, these two executives sought to enrich themselves at the expense of sick and vulnerable individuals who rely upon access to generic pharmaceuticals as a more affordable alternative to brand-name medicines," the statement continued.
Bloomberg reported that people with knowledge about the case said that the two executives are preparing to plead guilty on Jan. 9 and cooperate with authorities. The sources stated that the cooperation could lead to charges against executives at other drug companies, Bloomberg wrote.
In the civil lawsuit led by Connecticut antitrust investigators and filed in federal court there, drug companies are accused of colluding to fix prices on an antibiotic and a diabetes medication, in violation of federal law, The Wall Street Journal noted.
Heritage Pharmaceuticals Inc., Aurobindo Pharma USA Inc., Citron Pharma LLC, Mayne Pharma Inc., Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. were named in the Connecticut lawsuit, according to the newspaper.
"This is just the beginning of our work," Connecticut attorney general George Jepsen, told the Journal. "We think we have under investigation — and I assume Justice does as well — many more drugs than in this lawsuit and considerably more generic drug manufacturers than are parties to this suit. We think that this is kind of the tip of the iceberg."
A Mylan spokeswoman told the Journal that there was no evidence that the company took part in price fixing while a Teva spokeswoman said the company found no evidence of conduct "that would give rise to any civil or criminal liability," the Journal reported.
Reuters reported that other states that have joined the price fixing lawsuit include Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.
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