(Reuters) – US states filed a lawsuit accusing Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. of orchestrating a sweeping system of 19 other pharmaceutical companies to inflate drug prices – sometimes by more than 1000% – and stifle competition for generic drugs , prosecutor said Saturday.
Soaring drug prices from both branded and generic manufacturers have given rise to outbreaks and investigations in the United States. Criticism has come from the entire political spectrum, from President Donald Trump, a Republican, to progressive democrats including the US late Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, who runs the president.
The 20 pharmaceutical companies engaged in illegal conspiracies to divide the drug market to avoid competing and in some cases conspired to either prevent the fall or raise them, according to the complaint from 44 US states filed on Friday in the US District Court in Connecticut.
A representative of Teva USA, a unit of the Israeli company Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., said it will fight the trial.
"The claims in this new complaint and in the trials are generally just such ̵
The 500-page trial is accusing the generic pharmaceutical industry, which mainly sells non-patented drugs and should be cheaper, with a long history of discrete contracts to ensure that companies believed to have competitors each get a "fair share" .
The situation deteriorated in 2012, the complaint said.
"Obviously dissatisfied with the status quo" fair shares "and the mere avoidance of price erosion, Teva and its co-conspirators launched one of the most irregular and harmful pricing composition in the United States history," the complaint said.
With Teva at the center of the conspiracy, drug companies collaborated to significantly raise the prices of 86 drugs between July 2013 and January 2015, the complaint said.
Representatives of Sandoz, another company called in the laws, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The drugs included everything from tablets and capsules to creams and ointments to treat conditions, including diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cancer, epilepsy and more, they said. In some cases, the coordinated price increases were more than 1000%, the trial said.
The trial is also called 15 people as defendants, which it said carried out the agenda.
"The level of business greeting claimed in this majority mood is heartless and inconsistent," says Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak in a statement.
According to New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, more than half of the corporate defense forces are based in New Jersey, and five of the individual defendants reside in the state.
The trial is seeking damages, civil penalties and court action to restore competition to the generic pharmaceutical market.
Generic drugs can save drug buyers and taxpayers tens of billions of dollars a year because they are a cheaper alternative to brand name drugs.
"Generic drugs were one of the few" findings "in the US health care system," the trial said.
"The prices of hundreds of generic drugs have risen – while some have risen, without explanation, sparking uprisings from politicians, payers, and consumers across the country, whose costs have doubled, tripled or even increased 1000% or more. "
As a result of the drug companies' conspiracies, it said that consumers and states paid" substantially inflated and anti-competitive prices for many generic drug drugs "while drug companies suffered.
The process submitted on Friday is parallel to an action initiated in December 2016 by the lawyers in 45 states and the District of Columbia. That case was later extended to include more than a dozen drug manufacturers.