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Multistate coalition files lawsuit against generic drugmakers for price fixing

The attorneys general of 20 states joined together to file a federal lawsuit against generic drugmakers alleging that they conspired to unreasonably restrain trade, artificially inflate and manipulate prices, and reduce competition in the U.S. for an antibiotic and an oral diabetes medication.

The lawsuit was filed under seal in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut against Heritage Pharmaceuticals Inc., Aurobindo Pharma Ltd., Citron Pharma LLC, Mayne Pharma Group Ltd.'s Mayne Pharma (USA) Inc., Mylan NV's Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.'s Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc.

Connecticut initiated an investigation in July 2014 into the reasons for suspicious price increases of certain generic drugs. The ongoing investigation uncovered evidence of "a well-coordinated and long-running conspiracy to fix prices and allocate markets for doxycycline hyclate delayed release and glyburide."

The complaint alleges that the defendants routinely coordinated their schemes through interaction with their competitors at industry trade shows, customer conferences and other events, as well as via email, phone and text messages. The states also claim the drug companies were aware of their illegal conduct and made efforts to avoid written communications and, in some instances, deleted written communications after learning about the investigation.

The misconduct was allegedly conceived and carried out by senior drug company executives and their subordinate marketing and sales executives.

In addition, the states allege the companies' conduct violated the federal Sherman Act and requests the court to prohibit the companies from engaging in illegal and anti-competitive behavior. The complaint seeks equitable relief, including substantial financial relief, to address the violations and restore competition.

Connecticut is leading the multistate group of plaintiff states, which are: Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington.