Attorney General Josh Stein announced this week that North Carolina has joined a federal antitrust lawsuit alleging that six generic drug-makers entered into illegal conspiracies to unreasonably restrain trade, artificially inflate and manipulate prices and reduce competition in the United States for two generic drugs – one to treat diabetes and the other an antibiotic.
“Price fixing in any industry is unacceptable,” said AG Stein. “But for generic drug makers – whose drugs are supposed to provide an affordable option for patients – to illegally reduce competition and gain profits on the backs of sick Americans, is particularly galling. My office is focused on protecting the people of North Carolina and that includes protecting patients from companies who illegally conspire to increase the cost of their health care.”
The investigation into these companies, which is still ongoing, uncovered evidence of a well-coordinated and long-running conspiracy to fix prices and allocate markets for doxycycline hyclate delayed release, an antibiotic, and glyburide, an oral diabetes medication.
The complaint further alleges that the defendants routinely coordinated their schemes through direct interaction with their competitors at industry trade shows, customer conferences and other events, as well as through direct email, phone and text message communications. The alleged anticompetitive conduct – including efforts to fix and maintain prices, allocate markets and otherwise thwart competition – caused significant, harmful and continuing effects in the country’s healthcare system, the states allege.
The complaint filed today includes Attorneys General from 40 states. An initial suit, filed in December 2016, included 20 states. North Carolina joined the subsequent suit today. This amended complaint also adds claims of alleged violations of state antitrust laws – in addition to the alleged violations of federal antitrust laws – in each of the 40 states. Companies named in the suit are Heritage Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Aurobindo Pharma USA, Inc., Citron Pharma, LLC, Mayne Pharma (USA), Inc., Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.
The lawsuit was filed under seal in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. Portions of the complaint are redacted in order to avoid compromising the ongoing investigation.