States Expand Price-Fixing Accusations Against Generic Drug Companies

A large group of U.S. states accused key players in the generic drug industry of a broad price-fixing conspiracy, moving on Tuesday to widen an earlier lawsuit. Attorneys general in 45 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico filed a motion in federal court in Philadelphia on Tuesday proposing to add several more generic-drug companies as defendants in the lawsuit, and to expand the number of drugs at issue to 15 from two. The attorneys general originally filed a lawsuit in December against six companies including Heritage Pharmaceuticals and units of Mylan and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. The original lawsuit alleged that the companies conspired to manipulate prices for doxycycline hyclate, an antibiotic, and glyburide, used in the treatment of diabetes. Now, the state attorneys general have asked a federal judge for permission to add 12 new companies or corporate entities as defendants in the price-fixing allegations, including Novartis AG's Sandoz unit, Endo International's Par Pharmaceuticals unit, Lannett Co., and Emcure Pharmaceuticals, the parent company of Heritage. The states' proposed amended lawsuit says the companies conspired to raise or maintain prices for multiple drugs such as acetazolamide, a glaucoma treatment; meprobamate, an antianxiety drug; zoledronic acid, a treatment for high calcium levels in the blood; and several other drugs.

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