According to the Office of Attorney General Dave Yost, Ohio and 44 other states have filed an antitrust lawsuit against 20 different generic drug manufacturers. The manufacturers are accused of a conspiracy to inflate and manipulate prices in an effort to reduce competition and unfairly restrain trade for more than 100 different generic drugs.
The generic drugs listed in the lawsuit account for billions of dollars of sales in the United States. The lawsuit alleges that the accused manufacturers’ actions led to inflated pricing that affected the health insurance market, Medicare and Medicaid, as well as individuals who had no choice but to pay higher prices for their prescribed medications.
In a media release from the Ohio Attorney General’s office on May 13, Yost states, “Ohioans who need medicine might think generic drugs would be their cheapest option — but some manufacturers have rigged the systems to avoid competition. That’s not how a free market works, and the conspiracy to avoid competition makes prices higher — and it’s against the law. This lawsuit is the prescription for lower medicine prices in a free market.”
The lawsuit which was filed Friday, May 10 in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, also names 15 individual executives who were responsible for sales, marketing, pricing and operations for their respective employers.
The complaint alleges that generic drug manufacturers including Pfizer, Upsher-Smith Laboratories and 18 other companies worked together to fix prices for more than 100 different generic drugs. The drugs in question treat a range of diseases and conditions from diabetes, cancer, epilepsy, ADHD, multiple sclerosis and more. According to Yost, in some cases, the price increases were over 1,000%.
The 524 page complaint, which can be read in its entirety here, describes details of how the drug companies colluded with one another to discourage competition and inflate prices. The lawsuit states that the named executives for the accused manufacturers met during lunches, dinners, cocktail parties and golf outings and communicated frequently by phone, email and text to discuss the details of the alleged misconduct.
Ohio and the other 44 states are seeking damages, civil penalties and actions by the court to restore competition to the generic drug market.