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Politics

Florida, Other States Say Generic Drug Firms Conspired

May 14, 2019 - 8:15am
Generic prescription drugs in a beaker, sitting in a crime lab.
Generic prescription drugs in a beaker, sitting in a crime lab.

Alleging a conspiracy that has increased drug prices, Attorney General Ashley Moody announced Monday that Florida has joined states across the country in a massive anti-trust lawsuit against generic drug manufacturers.

Florida is one of 43 states and Puerto Rico taking part in the lawsuit filed in federal district court in Connecticut against numerous generic-drug companies and executives. The lawsuit, which comes after a multi-year investigation spearheaded by the Connecticut attorney general’s office, contends that the companies colluded to raise drug prices.

“Inflating and manipulating the pricing of essential drugs prescribed to those with chronic conditions is shameful,” Moody said in a prepared statement Monday, as she and other attorneys general announced the lawsuit. “Routine health care can already be a burdensome cost for individuals, not to mention those suffering with life-altering and critical illnesses, and patients should not have to further worry about rising prescription drug costs of medicine they may desperately need.”

Generic drugs are designed to be lower-cost alternatives to name-brand drugs. But the lawsuit contends that manufacturers communicated with each other to determine market shares to avoid competing. Also, it alleges they agreed to raise or maintain prices for drugs.

“For many years, the generic pharmaceutical industry has operated pursuant to an understanding among generic manufacturers not to compete with each other and to instead settle for what these competitors refer to as ‘fair share,’ ” the lawsuit said. “This understanding has permeated every segment of the industry, and the purpose of the agreement was to avoid competition among generic manufacturers that would normally result in significant price erosion and great savings to the ultimate consumer. Rather than enter a particular generic drug market by competing on price in order to gain market share, competitors in the generic drug industry would systematically and routinely communicate with one another directly, divvy up customers to create an artificial equilibrium in the market, and then maintain anticompetitively high prices.”

But in a statement Sunday in response to a “60 Minutes” report about the investigation and lawsuit, the Association for Accessible Medicines, an industry group, said it and generic-drug companies “are committed to supporting policies that promote competition and help speed the availability of generic and biosimilar medicines to patients.”

“Today’s generic drug industry is characterized by intense competition,” the statement said. “As a result, pricing data from the last three years indicate that generic prices have declined overall and saved patients and taxpayers literally billions of dollars compared to brand-name drug prices.”

The lawsuit seeks a ruling that the companies violated federal and state laws and requests payments to the states of “ill-gotten gains,” damages and penalties.

In part, it contends the companies violated a Florida anti-trust law and a law known as the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. It seeks money for “purchases of pharmaceuticals by the state of Florida and its government entities and municipalities, Florida businesses, and individual consumers.”

“The state of Florida and its government entities and municipalities, and Florida individual consumers have been injured and will continue to be injured by paying more for pharmaceuticals purchased directly and/or indirectly from the defendants and their co-conspirators than they would have paid in the absence of the conspiracy,” the lawsuit said.

Comments

Anonymous lacks any serious knowledge of the historical Government since the country was formed. He proves that he only knows the last "Governments" since WWII.

Capitalism run amok. Instead of being consumer-centric, business has become predatory-centric. Soak everybody for every penny they have!

Simple solution, move to Venezuela.

Maybe it's time to nationalize drug manufacturing

Are you serious? Name one thing that the Government does less expensively than private enterprise!

No. Government is far to corrtuptable. Look at 8 years of Obama!!

Who are you willing to trust? If the private sector is getting greedier and greedier, who will stop them? This is where the government steps in and finds these greedy merchants and punishes them. That is unless the government agent/agency is not corrupted. There should be stiff laws governing the government workers who oversee the operations of the private sector, where a government worker who has become corrupted should be held up to stricter punishments.

Hilarious! The most corrupt federal government in the history of the U.S. is operating in Washington right now. Every other federal administration was 'angelic' compared to this one and its Liar-In-Chief. This one is the real 'political crime family'!

There has never in the history of America been a more corrupt president than Obama. Many of his remaining corrupt moles furthered the Russian Collusion hoax. However, AG Barr is about to blow the lid off the crimes and corruption of Hillary and Obama - that's why the DNC is attacking him.

Yes. Yes. And Donald is the best president to ever govern this great nation of ours. You have pretty much hit every trump bullet point.

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