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More price-fixing lawsuits hit the generic drug industry

A white building with the blue Sandoz logo.
Sandoz, owned by Novartis, is facing more lawsuits. Photo: Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance via Getty Images

A coalition of state attorneys general has sued more than two dozen generic drug companies and high-ranking executives, accusing them of conspiring to fix prices of their prescription pills and creams. Health insurer Cigna similarly filed a lawsuit of its own, arguing the price-fixing schemes led to massive "overcharges."

The big picture: These lawsuits build on previous ones, as well as three criminal admissions of guilt, and paint a bleak picture of the industry's practices.

Between the lines: The central argument of the lawsuits is the same as the others before them: That these generics companies broke foundational antitrust law by colluding on price hikes and divvying up market share.

  • For example, Teva, Mylan and Sandoz all raised the price of blood pressure medication nadolol by more than 700% within six months of each other, according to allegations in Cigna's lawsuit.
  • Generic drug companies routinely shared sensitive competitive information with each other to make sure each company was satisfied with its "fair share" of the market for various drugs, according to the new multi-state lawsuit.

What they're saying: The drug companies believe they did not break any laws, according to Reuters.

  • But at least one company, Teva, believes the federal government won't charge it with federal price-fixing crimes in the middle of a pandemic, The New York Times recently reported.