Six generic drug companies sued for driving up costs, reducing competition

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, on March 1, joined a multi-state antitrust lawsuit against six generic drug companies that manufacture doxycycline hyclate delayed release, an antibiotic, and glyburide, an oral diabetes medication.

The suit was filed against Heritage Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Aurobindo Pharma USA, Inc., Citron Pharma, LLC, Mayne Pharma (USA), Inc., Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. over allegations that the companies engaged in an illegal scheme to reduce competition and manipulate prices, causing purchasers to pay artificially high prices.

“Patients rely on life saving antibiotics and diabetes medication, and by manipulating pricing they put greed ahead of patient health,” said Schuette. 

The original suit was filed in Dec. 2016. Last week’s amended complaint filed with the federal court increases the number of participating states from 20 to 40 and adds claims of alleged violations of state antitrust laws – as well as the previously alleged violations of federal antitrust laws.  The complaint further asserts the defendants conduct violated state consumer protection laws.

Background: The lawsuit is a result of an ongoing investigation into suspicious price increases of certain generic pharmaceuticals. The investigation uncovered an alleged conspiracy to fix prices and allocate markets for the above-named medications.

The complaint alleges that the defendants routinely coordinated marketing and pricing through direct interaction at trade shows, customer conferences and other events, as well as through direct email, phone and text messages. The alleged  conduct – including efforts to fix and maintain prices, allocate markets and otherwise thwart competition – caused significant, harmful and continuing negative impacts on patients’ access to competitively priced medication.

Portions of the complaint are redacted to avoid compromising the ongoing investigation.