Published: Sat, December 17, 2016
Science | By Carlton Santiago

Maine joins antitrust lawsuit against generic drugmakers

Maine joins antitrust lawsuit against generic drugmakers

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in US District Court for the District of ct, says that the six companies - which also include Mayne Pharma, Aurobindo Pharma, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Citron Pharma LLC - participated in price manipulation of doxycycline hyclate, an antibiotic, and glyburide, a treatment drug for diabetics, Reuters reported.

"While the principal architect of the conspiracies addressed in this lawsuit was Heritage Pharmaceuticals, we have evidence of widespread participation in illegal conspiracies across the generic drug industry", Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen said in a written release.

The lawsuit alleges that the companies, led by New Jersey-based drug maker Heritage Pharmaceuticals, identified competitors and tried to reach agreements on how they could avoid competing for customers on price. "We intend to pursue this and other enforcement actions aggressively".

In the complaint, the states allege that the misconduct was conceived and carried out by senior drug company executives and their subordinate marketing and sales executives. The businesses that are facing the brunt include Mylan Inc (NASDAQ:MYL) of Pennsylvania, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Citron Pharma, Heritage, and Aurobindo Pharma (NSE:AUROPHARMA) of India. The company also allegedly defrauded Medicaid over its EpiPen products.

The drugs in question are doxycycline hyclate and glyburide.

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On Wednesday, federal prosecutors made similar claims against two former executives at Heritage Pharmaceuticals, one of the companies named in the suit, accusing them of engaging in a price-fixing scheme for the same two drugs.

"Conspiring to fix prices on widely used generic medications skews the market, flouts common decency-and very clearly breaks the law", said Special Agent in Charge Michael Harpster of the FBI's Philadelphia Division.

A Heritage spokeswoman says the company is cooperating with both the federal and state investigations.

The U.S. Justice Department also is conducting an antitrust investigation into drug pricing involving more than a dozen companies, including Mylan.

The alleged anti-competitive conduct - including efforts to fix and maintain prices, allocate markets and otherwise thwart competition - caused significant, harmful and continuing effects in the country's health care system, the state attorney general said. The other companies didn't immediately return requests for comment.

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