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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.

Go deeper

Aug 6, 2020 - Technology

Congress' next moves to rein in Big Tech

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

After grilling the CEOs of Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple last week, members of Congress are grappling with whether to accuse any of the firms of illegal anticompetitive behavior, to propose updating federal antitrust laws — or both.

The big picture: Congress is just one arm of government making the case against these companies. Google is expected to be the first of the firms to face possible antitrust litigation from the Justice Department before summer's end, but all four face a full-court press of investigations by DOJ, the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general.

California labor commissioner sues Uber and Lyft

Photo: Lane Turner/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

California's Labor Commission has filed lawsuits against Uber and Lyft, accusing them of "committing wage theft by misclassifying employees as independent contractors." The suit will replace individual claims that drivers have filed.

Why it matters: This is the latest move by California officials seeking to force the companies to reclassify their drivers from independent contractors to employees following a new law that went into effect in January.

Right-wingers making McCarthy sweat for future Speaker post

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stands with his Republican colleagues outside the House on Nov. 17. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Right-wing elements in the Republican Party are complicating House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's attempts to become the next speaker of the House should the GOP take back the majority in 2022.

Why it matters: While McCarthy has worked carefully to build trust among the conservatives who tanked his chances at clinching the speakership in 2015, they're still circling ahead of the next Speaker vote in January 2023.