Israeli company Teva is one of 20 leading drugmakers targeted in a lawsuit brought by 45 states and Puerto Rico. The lawsuit alleges that Teva’s U.S. subsidiary, Teva Pharmaceutical USA Inc., conspired with Pfizer, Mylan and others to inflate prices of generic drugs. 

The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Connecticut on May 10, accuses over a dozen companies of a price-fixing scheme involving 112 different generic drugs, including treatments for diabetes, cancer, arthritis and other medical conditions. 

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich joined the lawsuit on May 13. 

“My office is committed to ensuring that Arizona consumers are not harmed by drug manufacturers conspiring to raise drug prices. Arizonans rely every day on the drugs at issue in this complaint for the treatment of diseases like cancer, diabetes, depression and arthritis,” Brnovich said. “Market forces should drive the cost of generic drugs, not drug manufacturers who rake in billions in profits through alleged collusion while consumers’ pocketbooks — and, in some cases, their health ­— suffer from skyrocketing prices.”

Teva, one of the world’s largest generic drug manufacturers, has made headlines in recent years over company cuts and big purchases. In 2017, Teva went through a restructuring that involved laying off 14,000 workers. The lay offs came after the expiration of its patents on Copaxone, a drug for multiple sclerosis. Teva is also struggling under a $35 billion debt from acquiring pharmaceutical company Allergan’s Anda generic drug division. 

Prosecutors allege that Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. inflated prices by up to 1,000% and stifled competition for generic drugs, Reuters reported. For 19 months from 2013 to 2015, Teva significantly raised prices on 112 generic drugs and colluded with its competitors on at least 86 medicines, the lawsuit claims.

“Teva is a consistent participant in the conspiracies identified in this complaint, but the conduct is pervasive and industry-wide,” according to the lawsuit. “Through its senior-most executives and account managers, Teva participated in a wide-ranging series of restraints with more than a dozen generic drug manufacturers, all of whom knowingly and willingly participated.”

On the Sunday after the lawsuit was filed, Teva’s financial officer, Mike McClellan, spoke at a news conference and said Teva, “has not engaged in any conduct that would lead to civil or criminal liability.” He added, “We take these accusations seriously and we are going to defend ourselves.” JN

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