For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484
Multistate Lawsuit Alleges Conspiracy by Generic Manufacturers to Fix Prices for 80 Drugs
(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today filed a lawsuit against 26 generic drug manufacturers and 10 individuals who are senior executives at these drug companies. In his lawsuit, Attorney General Stein alleges a widespread conspiracy to artificially inflate and manipulate prices, reduce competition, and unreasonably restrain trade for 80 topical generic drugs. The lawsuit, the third in an ongoing antitrust multistate investigation, seeks damages, civil penalties, and actions by the court to restore competition to the generic drug market.
“Drug costs are too high for North Carolinians as it is,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “It is not only inexcusable to conspire to fix drug prices, but it’s also illegal. I will do everything in my power to hold these generic drug manufacturers accountable and lower the prices you pay for your medications.”
The complaint alleges longstanding agreements among manufacturers to ensure a “fair share” of the market for each competitor and to prevent “price erosion” due to competition. Between 2007 and 2014, three generic drug manufacturers—Taro, Perrigo, and Fougera (now Sandoz)—sold nearly two-thirds of all generic topical products dispensed in the United States. The multistate investigation has uncovered comprehensive, direct evidence of unlawful agreements to minimize competition and raise prices on dozens of topical products.
The complaint stems from an ongoing investigation built on evidence from several cooperating witnesses at the core of the conspiracy, a massive document database of more than 20 million documents, and a phone records database containing millions of call detail records and contact information for more than 600 sales and pricing individuals in the generics industry. Among the records obtained by the states is a two-volume notebook containing the contemporaneous notes of one of the states’ cooperators that memorialized his discussions during phone calls with competitors and internal company meetings over a period of several years. Another cooperating witness called the notebooks the “Diary of Collusion.”
The topical drugs at the center of the complaint include creams, gels, lotions, ointments, shampoos, and solutions used to treat a variety of skin conditions, pain, and allergies, including adapalene cream (also sold under the brand name Differin) and methylphenidate HCL tablets (also sold under the brand name Ritalin).
This is the third lawsuit Attorney General Stein has filed against generic drug manufacturers. In 2019, Attorney General Stein filed an antitrust lawsuit against 20 generic drug manufacturers and 15 senior executives. In 2017, Attorney General Stein joined a federal generic drug antitrust lawsuit alleging illegal conspiracies to fix prices on 15 drugs that has expanded to include 18 generic drug manufacturers.
The lawsuit names the following defendants:
- Sandoz, Inc.
- Actavis Holdco U.S., Inc.
- Actavis Elizabeth LLC
- Actavis Pharma, Inc.
- Amneal Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
- Amneal Pharmaceuticals, LLC
- Aurobindo Pharma USA, Inc.
- Bausch Health Americas, Inc.
- Bausch Health, US LLC
- Fougera Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
- G&W Laboratories, Inc.
- Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Inc., USA
- Greenstone LLC
- Lannett Company, Inc.
- Lupin Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
- Mallinckrodt Inc.
- Mallinckrodt plc
- Mallinckrodt LLC
- Mylan Inc.
- Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc.
- Perrigo New York, Inc.
- Pfizer, Inc.
- Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Inc.
- Taro Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.
- Teligent, Inc.
- Wockhardt USA, LLC
- Ara Aprahamian, the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Defendant Taro Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc.
- Mitchell Blashinsky, former Vice President of Marketing for Generics at Taro Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc. and former Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Inc., USA.
- Douglas Boothe, former Chief Executive Officer of at Actavis and former Executive Vice President and General Manager at Perrigo New York, Inc.
- James Grauso, Executive Vice President, N.A. Commercial Operations at Glenmark, former Vice President of Sales and Marketing at G&W Laboratories, and former Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations at Aurobindo.
- Walt Kaczmarek, former Senior Director, National Accounts, Vice President, National Accounts and Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations at Fougera Pharmaceuticals, a division of Nycomed US, Inc. (currently part of Defendant Sandoz, Inc.), and former Vice President – General Manager and President, Multi-Source Pharmaceuticals at Mallinckrodt.
- Armando Kellum, former Vice President, Contracting and Business Analytics at Sandoz.
- Kurt Orlofski, former President and Chief Executive Officer at Wockhardt USA, and former President at G&W Labs, Inc.
- Mike Perfetto, former Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Actavis and former Chief Commercial Officer at Taro.
- Erika Vogel-Baylor, former Vice President for Sales and Marketing at G&W Labs, Inc.
- John Wesolowski, Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations at Perrigo.
Drugs listed in the complaint as subject to price-fixing and market allocation agreements:
- Acetazolamide Tablets
- Adapalene Cream
- Alclometasone Dipropionate Cream
- Alclometasone Dipropionate Ointment
- Ammonium Lactate Cream
- Ammonium Lactate Lotion
- Betamethasone Dipropionate Cream
- Betamethasone Dipropionate Lotion
- Betamethasone Valerate Cream
- Betamethasone Valerate Lotion
- Betamethasone Valerate Ointment
- Bromocriptine Mesylate Tablets
- Calcipotriene Solution
- Calcipotriene Betamethasone Dipropionate Ointment
- Carbamazepine ER Tablets
- Cefpodoxime Proxetil Oral Suspension
- Cefpodoxime Proxetil Tablets
- Ciclopirox Cream
- Ciclopirox Shampoo
- Ciclopirox Solution
- Clindamycin Phosphate Cream
- Clindamycin Phosphate Gel
- Clindamycin Phosphate Lotion
- Clindamycin Phosphate Solution
- Clobetasol Propionate Cream
- Clobetasol Propionate Emollient Cream
- Clobetasol Propionate Gel
- Clobetasol Propionate Ointment
- Clobetasol Propionate Solution
- Clotrimazole 1% Cream
- Clotrimazole Betamethasone Dipropionate Cream
- Clotrimazole Betamethasone Dipropionate Lotion
- Desonide Cream
- Desonide Lotion
- Desonide Ointment
- Desoximetasone Ointment
- Econazole Nitrate Cream
- Eplerenone Tablets
- Erythromycin Base/Ethyl Alcohol Solution
- Ethambutol HCL Tablets
- Fluocinolone Acetonide Cream
- Fluocinolone Acetonide Ointment
- Fluocinonide .1% Cream
- Fluocinonide Gel
- Fluocinonide Ointment
- Fluocinonide Solution
- Fluticasone Propionate Lotion
- Griseofulvin Microsize Tablets
- Halobetasol Propionate Cream
- Halobetasol Propionate Ointment
- Hydrocortisone Acetate Suppositories
- Hydrocortisone Valerate Cream
- Imiquimod Cream
- Ketoconazole Cream
- Latanoprost Drops
- Lidocaine Ointment
- Methazolamide Tablets
- Methylphenidate HCL Tablets
- Methylphenidate HCL ER Tablets
- Metronidazole Cream
- Metronidazole .75% Gel
- Metronidazole .1% Gel
- Metronidazole Lotion
- Mometasone Furoate Cream
- Mometasone Furoate Ointment
- Mometasone Furoate Solution
- Nafcillin Sodium Injectable Vials
- Nystatin Ointment
- Nystatin Triamcinolone Cream
- Nystatin Triamcinolone Ointment
- Oxacillin Sodium Injectable Vials
- Phenytoin Sodium ER Capsules
- Pioglitazone HCL Metformin HCL Tablets
- Prochlorperazine Maleate Suppositories
- Promethazine HCL Suppositories
- Tacrolimus Ointment
- Terconazole Cream
- Triamcinolone Acetonide Cream
- Triamcinolone Acetonide Ointment
- Triamcinolone Acetonide Paste
Attorney General Stein is joined in filing this multistate lawsuit by the Attorneys General of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Territory of Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, U.S. Virgin Islands, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
A copy of the complaint is available here.