Sandoz, Teva Vow to Fight Price-Fixing Allegations

pills in test tubes, with bills in one test tube

Days after a multi-state lawsuit alleged that a number of generic drugmakers conspired to manipulate prices on more than 100 drugs, Sandoz, the generics arm of Novartis, has fired back and vowed to fight the allegations, which it called baseless.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court by the attorneys general from more than 40 states that claim the generic drugmakers worked together to artificially increase the prices of generic drugs aimed at the treatment of cancer, diabetes and more, PBS reported. This is the second such allegation filed within the last six months. In December, a lawsuit that was initially filed in 2016, was expanded to include 16 companies and 300 drugs, as BioSpace reported at the time. Companies that have been named in the lawsuit include Teva Pharmaceuticals, Mylan and Sandoz, among others. In addition to the companies, the lawsuit also names 15 individuals as defendants who were involved in carrying out the price-fixing schemes, according to the complaint.

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The newest lawsuit, which was filed Friday, claims that the drugmakers worked in conjunction to inflate drug prices by up to 1,000 percent, as well as stifle competition, Reuters reported. Teva is at the center of the alleged conspiracy, according to the complaint. The lawsuit said the drug companies colluded to significantly raise prices on 86 medicines between July 2013 and January 2015.

The alleged collusion between the companies forced consumers and states to pay “substantially inflated and anticompetitive prices for numerous generic pharmaceutical drugs,” the lawsuit claims.

The attorneys general said the claims are based on multiple pieces of evidence, including emails, text messages and other documents shared between the companies. In November, a federal judge ruled that those documents and other pieces of evidence could be shared by all plaintiffs.

Novartis disputed the claims this morning and said it will fight the allegations.

“We believe that these claims are without merit and will vigorously contest them,” Novartis said in a statement to Reuters. “Sandoz takes its obligations under the antitrust laws seriously. We will continue to be committed to providing high-quality, affordable medicines to U.S. patients, and conducting business with customers and the government with integrity.”

Teva, likewise, has contested the charges. Kelley Dougherty, a Teva vice president, told PBS that the allegations are nothing more than allegations.

“The company delivers high-quality medicines to patients around the world and is committed to complying with all applicable laws and regulations in doing so,” Dougherty told PBS.

The lawsuit comes as the next election cycle ramps up and inflated drug prices are one of the biggest concerns raised so far by many candidates. The White House has called for accelerated approval of generics in order to lower the out-of-pocket prices many people may have to pay at the pharmacy.

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