Drug companies inflate prices over 1,000%; 44 U.S. states are suing

The lawsuit also names 15 individuals as defendants who it said carried out the schemes on a day-to-day basis.

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Bottles of medication made by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.
Bottles of medication made by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. George Frey | Bloomberg | Getty Images

44 U.S. states filed a lawsuit in which they’re accusing Teva Pharmaceuticals USA of orchestrating a scheme with 19 other drug companies to inflate drug prices — sometimes by more than 1,000% — and stifle competition for generic drugs, state prosecutors said on Saturday.

Soaring drug prices from both branded and generic manufacturers have sparked outrage and investigations in the United States. The criticism has come from across the political spectrum.

The 20 drug companies engaged in illegal conspiracies to divide up the market for drugs to avoid competing and, in some cases, conspired to either prevent prices from dropping or to raise them, according to the complaint by 44 U.S. states, filed on Friday in the U.S. District Court in Connecticut.

A representative of Teva USA, a unit of Israeli company Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, said it will fight the lawsuit.

44 U.S. States Go After Teva And 19 Other Pharma Companies For Price Gouging Generic Drugs
U.S. States Go After Teva And 19 Other Pharma Companies For Price Gouging Generic Drugs

“The allegations in this new complaint, and in the litigation more generally, are just that — allegations,” it said in a statement. “Teva continues to review the issue internally and has not engaged in any conduct that would lead to civil or criminal liability.”

The 500-page lawsuit accuses the generic drug industry, which mainly sells medicines that are off patent and should be less expensive, of a long history of discreet agreements to ensure that companies that are supposedly competitors each get a “fair share.”

With Teva at the center of this conspiracy, the drug companies colluded to significantly raise prices on 86 medicines between July 2013 and January 2015, the complaint said.

The lawsuit filed on Friday is parallel to an action brought in December 2016 by the attorneys general of 45 states and the District of Columbia. That case was later expanded to include more than a dozen drug companies.

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