JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced today that the state of Missouri is joining the State of Connecticut’s lawsuit against Teva Pharmaceuticals and 19 of the nation’s largest generic drug manufacturers, alleging that the companies drastically inflated and manipulated prices, reduced competition and unreasonably restrained trade for more than 100 different generic drugs. This is one of the most damaging and far-reaching price-fixing schemes in modern history, with certain companies inflating prices by nearly 1,000 percent.
“Millions and millions of Americans rely on generic prescription drugs every day to treat diabetes, infections, depression, cancer, HIV, and more. This price-fixing scheme by Teva Pharmaceuticals and other industry giants demonstrates a level of corporate greed the state of Missouri and the country rarely sees,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “By joining this lawsuit we’re sending a clear message to pharmaceutical companies: if you harm any of the 6 million people that call Missouri home, we will pursue action and hold you accountable for your actions.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, also names 15 individual senior executive defendants at the heart of the conspiracy who was responsible for sales, marketing, pricing, and operations. The drugs at issue account for billions of dollars of sales in the United States, and the alleged schemes increased prices affecting the health insurance market, taxpayer-funded healthcare programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and individuals who must pay artificially-inflated prices for their prescriptions drugs.
The complaint alleges that Teva, Sandoz, Mylan, Pfizer, and 16 other generic drug manufacturers engaged in a broad, coordinated and systematic campaign to conspire with each other to fix prices, allocate markets and rig bids for more than 100 different generic drugs. The drugs span all types, including tablets, capsules, suspensions, creams, gels, ointments, and classes, including statins, ace inhibitors, beta blockers, antibiotics, anti-depressants, contraceptives, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and treat a range of diseases and conditions from basic infections to diabetes, cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, HIV, ADHD, and more. In some instances, the coordinated price increases were over 1,000 percent.
The complaint lays out an interconnected web of industry executives where these competitors met with each other during industry dinners, “girls nights out”, lunches, cocktail parties, golf outings and communicated via frequent telephone calls, emails and text messages that sowed the seeds for their illegal agreements. Throughout the complaint, defendants use terms like “fair share,” “playing nice in the sandbox,” and “responsible competitor” to describe how they unlawfully discouraged competition, raised prices and enforced an ingrained culture of collusion.
The lawsuit seeks damages, civil penalties and actions by the court to restore competition to the generic drug market.
The complaint is the second to be filed in an ongoing, expanding investigation by the Connecticut Office of the Attorney General. The first complaint, still pending in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, was filed in 2016 and now includes 18 corporate defendants, two individual defendants, and 15 generic drugs.
Two former executives from Heritage Pharmaceuticals, Jeffery Glazer and Jason Malek, have entered into settlement agreements and are cooperating with the Attorneys General working group in that case.
This is an edited press release