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Montana joins lawsuit against 20 drug manufactures for price fixing, conspiracy

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“Town Crier” newsletter – Briefs from the Region (2) – 6/12/20

According to the Missoula Current, Attorney General Tim Fox joined 43 other states in a lawsuit accusing Teva Pharmaceuticals of conspiring with 19 other drug manufacturers to manipulate the market for generic drugs and raise prices in a “broad, coordinated, and systematic campaign” to fix prices on over 100 generic drug varieties. The suit was originally filed in the U.S. District Court in Connecticut, and covers a number of drugs intended to treat and target diseases such as “diabetes, epilepsy, cancer and HIV, among others,” reports the Current, with price fixing allegedly boosting the costs by more than 1,000 percent. The complaint, which also names 15 senior executives as defendants, asserts that drug makers engaged in illegal conspiracy to dodge competition and divide the drug market, conspiring to raise prices and/or prevent them from falling. “Montanans have been hit hard by the often shockingly high prices of prescription drugs,” Fox said in a statement. “The evidence in this case shows that some of the most well-known generic drug manufactures were involved in a widespread conspiracy to fix prices and divide up market share, with the direct result of harming consumers in need of life-sustaining medicine.” Notably, total sales account for billions of dollars and could have affected healthcare programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, and the suit alleges competitors met with each other during industry dinners, “girls nights out,” lunches, cocktail parties and golf outings. Fox, along with the 43 other attorneys general, is seeking damages, civil penalties and increased competition within the market. “The fact that generic drugs are supposed to be more affordable makes this conduct all the more troubling and harmful,” Fox said. “We are committed to prosecuting and investigating this collusive conduct until these companies are held accountable for the harm they have caused.”

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