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Pfizer, Teva and other generic drugmakers charged with illegally driving up drug prices

Written by Diane Archer

The New York Times reports that forty-four states filed a lawsuit against Teva, Pfizer, Novartis, Mylan and several other generic pharmaceutical companies for illegally conspiring to drive up generic drug prices as much as ten-fold. The suit charges that they were engaged in price-fixing for more than 100 generic drugs. If found guilty, what punishment would fit the crime?

More than 12 pharmaceutical companies and their executives are implicated in the lawsuit. And, the state prosecutors claim that the executives were aware that their activities undermining competition in the generic drug market violated the law. They allegedly colluded to raise prices on all the drugs they could.

These unwarranted and illegal price hikes on critical generic drugs drive up national health spending, hurt state and federal budgets and undermine the health and financial well-being of patients. 

The complaint describes an “industry-wide” practice of colluding to raise prices that is “pervasive.” Not surprisingly, Teva and Pfizer deny all charges against them.

Generic drugs whose prices were inflated include drugs to treat HIV, asthma, cholesterol, ADHD and cancer as well as blood thinners, contraceptives and antidepressants. Specifically, the following drugs:  lamivudine-zidovudine, budesonide, fenofibrate, amphetamine-dextroamphetamine.

The attorneys general’s lawsuit was filed in the Federal District Court in Connecticut. In a tweet, William Tong, the Connecticut attorney general, said that the behavior of these generic drugmakers was “a highly illegal violation of antitrust laws.”

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