Nevada joins lawsuit against generic drug manufacturers
Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford and 43 other attorneys general filed a lawsuit against Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. and 19 other generic drug manufacturers. The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, alleges that the pharmaceutical companies entered into numerous illegal conspiracies in order to unreasonably restrain trade, artificially inflate and manipulate prices and reduce competition in the U.S. for more than 100 generic drugs. The complaint also names 15 individual defendants that served key executive roles and devised, implemented and orchestrated the alleged schemes on a day-to-day basis.
“Generic drugs are intended to create competition in the marketplace and make treatment more affordable and accessible for patients with acute and chronic conditions,” said Ford. “In the United States, 9 out of 10 filled prescriptions are for generic drugs patients rely on for care, making these alleged anticompetitive practices even more troublesome. Many Nevadans, especially our seniors, struggle with the skyrocketing cost of prescriptions, and my office will aggressively pursue drug companies who take advantage of patients’ need for health care. This unified and targeted action illustrates my Bureau of Consumer Protection’s continued dedication to holding these companies and individuals accountable for the consequences their actions have had on the American people and our health care system.”
“The level of corporate greed alleged in this multistate lawsuit is heartless and unconscionable,” said Gov. Steve Sisolak. “Protecting Nevadans from being gouged by unfair prescription drug prices is critical, and my administration will continue to fight against predatory practices like these that take advantage of Nevadans who depend on prescription medications for their health and livelihood.”
The drugs at issue span all types, including tablets, capsules, creams and ointments, among others, and treat a wide range of diseases and conditions, including diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cancer, epilepsy and more. In some instances, the coordinated price increases were over 1,000 percent. The lawsuit seeks damages, civil penalties and actions by the court to restore competition to the generic drug market.
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 complaint is the second to be filed in an ongoing, expanding investigation that has been referred to as the largest cartel case in the history of the United States. The first complaint, still pending in 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 working group of attorneys general in that case.
In addition to Nevada, attorneys general from the following states are participating in today’s complaint: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington , West Virginia and Wisconsin.