Lawsuit alleges massive conspiracy to inflate generic drug prices

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(WTNH) — The State of Connecticut is leading the way, in a 44 state lawsuit alleging a massive conspiracy among drug manufacturers to inflate the cost of commonly used generic drugs.  The lawsuit accuses “Teva Pharmaceuticals” and 19 of the biggest drug companies in the country of illegally colluding to manipulate prices

This investigation goes back five years and was actually started under former Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen.

Connecticut’s case filed in Hartford Federal Court, alleges that the price of more than 100 commonly prescribed generic drugs to treat everything from heart disease to hemoroids were illegally manipulated, inflated and fixed by illegal collusion between executives at most of the major drug manufacturers.  “On a wide spread basis among the largest manufacturers and large segements of the market, prices are fixed and the market is rigged,” said Attorney General William Tong (D-Connecticut).  Assistant Attorney General Joe Nielsen added, “The first time we got a large set of text messages from
one of the companies where we could really see them communicating with each other, it was the first ‘a-hah’ moment.”

Tong says his anti trust division attorneys were able to use sophisticated computer software to match an increase in phone calls between drug companies just before and after a huge spike in the price of a generic drug.   Then they matched up that info with subpoenaed e-mails and text messages.    

Doctors from the state’s medical societies say they are not surprised. “We all suspected that something like this is going on and we are so happy that something is going to be done about it,” said Dr. Mario Cohen of the Hartford County Medical Society.  Dr. Leslie Miller of the Fairfield County Medical Society added,   “I don’t know if I knew it was collusion but I knew it was inappropriate.”

Tong added,  “The generic drug manufacturers by and large, most of the majors, represent the largest corporate cartel in American history.”

Teva Pharmaceuticals”  the biggest manufacturer named in the suit, has denied any criminal behavior or civil liability. Tong says he will seek restitution for the overcharges but admits this case will take many, many years but he expects it to eventually be heard at Hartford Federal Court.

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