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Hawaii Attorney General Sues Generic Prescription Drug Companies Over Inflated Drug Prices

Attorney General Doug Chin yesterday filed a federal lawsuit with 19 other states against generic drug makers Heritage Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Auribindo Pharma USA, Inc., Citron Pharma, LLC, Mayne Pharma (USA), Inc., Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. alleging they entered into conspiracies to unreasonably restrain trade, artificially inflate prices and reduce competition for two drugs: doxycycline hyclate delayed release, an antibiotic, and glyburide, a diabetes medication.

Attorney General Chin

Attorney General Chin said, “Hawaii citizens depend upon generic drugs and expect them to be cheaper than name brands. This multi-state lawsuit alleges a conspiracy among generic drug companies at the senior executive level to manipulate prices for profit. This type of corporate greed must stop.”

Last year, generic drug sales in the United States were estimated at $74.5 billion; currently, the generic pharmaceutical industry accounts for approximately 88 percent of all prescriptions written in the United States.

The 20 states allege that the misconduct was conceived and carried out by senior drug company executives and their subordinate marketing and sales executives. The companies allegedly coordinated their schemes at industry trade shows, customer conferences and other events, as well as through direct email, phone and text message communications. The states allege that the anticompetitive conduct – including efforts to fix and maintain prices, allocate markets and otherwise thwart competition – caused significant, harmful and continuing effects in the country’s healthcare system.

The lawsuit further alleges that the drug companies knew their conduct was illegal and made efforts to avoid communicating with each other in writing or, in some instances, to delete written communications after becoming aware of the investigation. The states have asked the court to enjoin the companies from engaging in illegal, anti-competitive behavior and for equitable relief, including substantial financial relief, to address the violations of law and restore competition.

In addition to Hawaii, the plaintiff states in this lawsuit are Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.

The lawsuit was filed under seal in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.

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