Over 40 US States Suing Big Pharma Firms For Alleged Price-Fixing And Fraud

US Drug Lawsuit
Bottles of drugs sit on the shelf at the Rock Canyon Pharmacy (Photo: Reuters)

More than 20 pharmaceutical companies that produce generic drugs are now the target of a growing number of lawsuits accusing them of price-fixing. Over 40 state attorney generals have filed suits against the manufacturers accusing them of conspiring to inflate the prices of over 100 drugs, including those used to treat diabetes, arthritis, and cancer.

So far, 43 states and Puerto Rico have filed suits, all of which have presented different evidence of the drug firms working together to elevate drug prices for their own benefit.

The lawsuits have implicated at least 15 individual executives and 20 pharmaceutical companies, chief among which is the subsidiary of Isreali-based Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd, Teva Pharmaceutical USA Inc.

According to court documents, the companies have managed to rake in billions of dollars in sales in the United States, a country considered to have the highest drug prices in the world.

Unlike other countries, where agencies routinely regulate prices of new drugs, prices for drugs in the United States have remained largely unchecked and elevated.

Democratic Connecticut Attorney General William Tong mentioned that the companies are guilty of participating in a multi-billion dollar fraud targeting the American people. As part of the civil suits' demands, the companies are being asked to return the profits they generated from the scheme to state agencies and to its victims.

Investigators have apparently gathered a slew of information that can be used as evidence against the pharmaceutical firms.

These include text message, phone calls, and emails that will prove a multi-year conspiracy by the companies and their executives to fix prices and divide market share for different types of generic drugs.

The evidence also reportedly shows how the different drug companies have agreed not to compete with each other to keep prices as high as possible. In 2012, the companies escalated their agreement by mutually raising prices on as many of their products as possible.

Teva Pharmaceuticals USA allegedly led a strategy that involved a group of competing for drug firms to develop a pricing system that would see prices increases in over 112 different medications. Teva has so far denied all of the allegations against it.

The company mentioned that it has so far followed all the applicable laws and regulations in its mission to deliver high-quality drugs to its customers.

The legal action follows a five-year investigation into the different firms and their involvement in the price-fixing scheme.

According to investigators, some drugs have even seen price increases of more than 1,000 percent. This is apparently part of the reason why the cost of healthcare and drugs in the United States has remained so high. 

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