Ellison sues generic drug makers | New

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Attorney General Keith Ellison has joined 42 other states and Puerto Rico in a Connecticut-led coalition to file a lawsuit against 20 generic pharmaceutical drugmakers and 15 individual defendants.

The lawsuit filed May 13 alleges that between 2013 and 2015, the defendants conspired to unlawfully allocate markets and fix prices for 112 generic prescription drugs that treat cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, anxiety, high blood pressure, bacterial infections, HIV and other conditions. .

Ellison said while many factors contribute to the high price of pharmaceutical drugs in America, one major factor puts profits ahead of people.

“Illegal behavior rooted in greed,” Ellison said. “There’s a good reason why this kind of anti-competitive and anti-trust conspiracy has been illegal for over a century. Holding these manufacturers accountable is exactly the kind of thing the Attorney General can do to help Minnesotans support themselves and live with dignity.

Rep. Rod Hamilton (R-Worthington), who lives with multiple sclerosis, said: ‘When you have the greedy drug cartel building a business model that robs the sick, the dying and the disabled, that’s downright infuriating. .”

He spoke of the “countless” contacts he’s had with Minnesotans who, because they can’t afford their prescription drugs, must “choose between paying their bills and saving their lives.”

Dr Stephen Schondelmeyer, a professor at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy and a national expert on the economic and social impacts of drug prices, said: “We have relied on generic manufacturers to drive down the cost of pharmaceutical drugs, and now the very people we relied on have turned around and stabbed us in the back with huge price increases. This market is broken.

Both Hamilton and Schondelmeyer are members of Attorney General Ellison’s Pharmaceutical Price Reduction Advisory Task Force.

This new lawsuit is in addition to another lawsuit against generic manufacturers filed in December 2016, in which Minnesota is also a plaintiff. This lawsuit similarly alleges that 16 other generic manufacturers also conspired to illegally fix prices and divide markets in what has been called “quite possibly the largest cartel in United States history.”

The alleged plot

Generic pharmaceutical drugs now account for almost 90% of all prescriptions filled in America. The new lawsuit alleges that through a well-understood and widely accepted system, these generic manufacturers and their representatives conspired with their so-called competitors to divide markets and fix prices among themselves. First, the companies that nominally competed with each other conspired to divide the markets for different generic drugs into what they called a “fair share” for each, based on when each company entered the market for that drug and agreed not to compete. on price or market share. Then these companies actively conspired with each other to charge “supra-competitive” prices for the drug or drugs in that market.

This conspiratorial behavior was called “playing well in the sandbox”. Competing companies that were seen as “playing well in the sandbox” were labeled as “responsible” or “rational.”

“It’s the exact opposite of how rational economic theory has told us markets are supposed to work,” Ellison said.

He said the behavior harmed consumers, many of whom complained to the attorney general’s office about sudden and dramatic spikes in the cost of generics, some of which are named in this complaint; payers like insurance companies who have absorbed large cost increases and passed them on to consumers in the form of higher premiums and reduced coverage and taxpayers who are paying more to support healthcare programs public health. From 2012 to 2016, pharmaceutical spending per Minnesota Medicaid enrollee increased by more than 56%. Nationally, more than $500 million in Medicaid drug reimbursements from mid-2013 to mid-2014, the period in which the alleged illegal market allocation and price fixing took place, involved generic drugs whose prices had increased by more than 100%.

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