Back in May, forty-four states filed a lawsuit against 20 generic pharmaceutical companies, including Teva, Pfizer, Novartis, Mylan for illegally conspiring to drive up generic drug prices as much as ten-fold on more than 100 generic drugs. Since then, Senator Bernie Sanders and Congressman Elijah Cummings have sent a letter to the Justice Department requesting it prioritize criminal enforcement of the antitrust laws against generic drug companies. Their goal is to bring down the price of generic drugs.
The letter expresses deep concern about the Justice Department’s failure to enforce federal antitrust laws against generic drug companies. Only one company, Heritage, has been held to account for corporate criminal activity. And, that company was able to settle the case against it with a mere $225,000 criminal penalty–hardly enough to deter future bad conduct.
Sanders and Cummings state that any civil enforcement by the Justice Department is insufficient if the charges against the 44 generic drugmakers have merit. Criminal enforcement will be needed.
The state lawsuits included evidence that the generic drugmakers may have conspired to fabricate responses to Sanders’ and Cummings’ 2014 investigation regarding generic drug price hikes. It appears that Teva and other generic drugmakers responded to Sanders’ and Cummings’ queries with “polite f-u letters,” designed to obstruct the investigation. According to Sanders and Cummings, the generic drugmakers gave reasons for their price increases that were at best grossly misleading and may have been false statements to Congress.
Sanders and Cummings are requesting a briefing by the Justice Department on June 21 as to how it is protecting the public from anticompetitive practices of the generic drugmakers. Sanders has a bill to lower all drug prices through international reference pricing, essentially having the US pay no more for drugs than the average of what other wealthy countries pay. Click here to see my Facebook video on drug pricing for Bernie Sanders.
If you want Congress to rein in drug prices, please sign this petition.
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