NEW ORLEANS — Federal and state enforcement entities have been investigating allegations of price fixing by generic drug companies and manufacturers, according to court documents.
On April 27, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and HMO Louisiana filed five lawsuits against more than a dozen pharmaceutical companies to regain losses from overcharging.
Listed as defendants in the case are Actavis Holdco U.S., Perrigo New York Inc and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Taro Pharmaceuticals Industries LTD, Impax Laboratories Inc, Taro Pharmaceuticals USA Inc, Woodhardt USA, Lannett Company, Akorn Inc, Heritage Pharmaceuticals Inc, Epic Pharma, Mylan Inc, Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Mayne, Par Pharmaceuticals Inc, Par Pharmaceutical Companies, Sandoz Inc, Fougera Pharmaceuticals, Hi-Tech Pharmacal Co. Inc, Perrigo Company PLC, Westward Pharmaceuticals Corp and Par Pharmaceutical Holdings Inc.
A week later, a voluntary dismissal order was granted to defendants Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Inc and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd.
The lawsuit, filed in Pennsylvania, accuses the defendants of manipulating the price of generic drugs Lidocaine, Prilocaine, Ursodiol, Clobetasol, Levothyroxine, Doxycycline and Digoxin.
The lawsuits came about three months after Jeffrey Glazer and Jason Malek, two executives of a generic drug manufacturer, pleaded guilty to felony charges in federal court to criminal price-fixing, "confirming the existence of conspiracies among generic drug manufacturers to fix prices," the complaint said.
According to court documents, Glazer admitted he "participated in a conspiracy with other persons and entities engaged in the production and sale of generic pharmaceutical products including Doxycycline Hyclate, the primary purpose of which was to allocate customers, rig bids and fix and maintain prices of Doxycycline Hyclate sold in the United States in furtherance of the conspiracy."
A month prior, the attorneys general of 20 states filed a civil complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut alleging price fixing of generic Doxycycline.
According to the criminal complaint, 71 generic pricing actions have been filed in federal courts.
"As a result of defendants’ unlawful conduct, plaintiffs and the other members of the proposed classes paid artificially inflated prices," the complaint said.
The U.S. Department of Justice continues its criminal investigation of possible conspiracies to fix prices of generic drugs. A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has issued subpoenas to other generic manufacturers.
The five lawsuits, the guilty plea and the attorneys general complaints "are merely the tip of the iceberg."
The AG complaint specifically refers to a "wide-ranging series of conspiracies implicating numerous different drugs and competitors," and "new subpoenas are going out, and the [state AG] investigation is growing beyond the companies named in the suit," according to a a January 27 report.