Forty-four states have filed a lawsuit against more than 20 drug manufacturers, accusing them of scheming to inflate the prices of more than 100 generic drugs.
According to the lawsuit, Sandoz, Pfizer, Mylan, Teva and 16 other drug manufacturers conspired to increase the prices affecting Medicare and Medicaid, the health insurance market and individuals. One report discovered that the prices of over 1,200 generic drugs increased about 448% between July 2013 and July 2014.
“During a 19-month period beginning in July 2013 and continuing through January 2015, Teva significantly raised prices on approximately 112 different generic drugs. … The size of the price increases varied, but a number of them were well over 1,000%,” the document said.
“We have emails, text messages, telephone records, and former company insiders that we believe will prove a multi-year conspiracy to fix prices and divide market share for huge numbers of generic drugs,” Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said. “We will not stop until these companies and the individuals who orchestrated these schemes are held accountable.”
“I’ve seen generics come on the marketplace and patients be asked to pay $17,000 for a generic that otherwise should have cost $7,” said Dr. Stephen Schondelmeyer, head of the Department of Pharmaceutical Care & Health Systems at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy. “That is a signal of a marketplace that’s broken.”
Minnesota Representative Rod Hamilton, who has multiple sclerosis, has personally been affected by this issue.
“I’ve been emotional through all of this but, forgive me, I’m just pissed off,” Hamilton said. “When you have the greedy, corporate drug cartel building a business model that is stealing from the sick, dying and disabled, that is quite frankly maddening.”
Teva spokeswoman Kelley P. Dougherty said that the allegations in the new lawsuit are just allegations. She said the company “has not engaged in any conduct that would lead to civil or criminal liability” and “is committed to complying with all applicable laws and regulations.”
The lawsuit seeks damages, civil penalties and court actions to repair competition in the generic drug market.