Pharmaceutical price fixing

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Interesting and not unexpected. I have bad skin and use a lot of products from Teva. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Probe of generic 'cartel' grows to 300 drugs
Executives at more than a dozen generic-drug companies had a form of shorthand to describe how they conducted business, insider lingo worked out over steak dinners, cocktail receptions and rounds of golf.

The "sandbox," according to investigators, was the market for generic prescription drugs, where everyone was expected to play nice.

"Fair share" described dividing up the sales pie to ensure that each company reaped continued profits. "Trashing the market" was used when a competitor ignored these unwritten rules and sold drugs for less than agreed-upon prices.

The terminology reflected more than just the clubbiness of a powerful industry, according to authorities and several lawsuits. Officials from multiple states say these practices were central to illegal price-fixing schemes of massive proportion.

The lawsuit and related cases picked up steam last month when a federal judge ruled that more than 1 million emails, cellphone texts and other documents cited as evidence could be shared among all plaintiffs.

What started as an antitrust lawsuit brought by states over just two drugs in 2016 has exploded into an investigation of alleged price-fixing involving at least 16 companies and 300 drugs, Joseph Nielsen, an assistant attorney general and antitrust investigator in Connecticut who has been a leading force in the probe, said in an interview. His comments in an interview with The Washington Post represent the first public disclosure of the dramatically expanded scale of the investigation.

The unfolding case is rattling an industry that is portrayed in Washington as the white knight of American health care.

"This is most likely the largest cartel in the history of the United States," Nielsen said. He cited the volume of drugs in the schemes, that they took place on American soil and the "total number of companies involved, and individuals."

And a bit more:

Among the 16 companies accused are some of the biggest names in generic manufacturing: Mylan, Teva and Dr. Reddy's. Mylan denied wrongdoing in an emailed statement. Sun, Teva and Dr. Reddy's did not respond to requests for comment. In a court filing, Teva said allegations of a price-fixing conspiracy "are entirely conclusory and devoid of any facts."

Mylan does albuterol (asthma med) which has gone from 13¢ to $4.70 per pill. They also manufacture the EpiPen which has gone from $94 to over $700 for the kit of two pens.

I have zero problem with making money. Rigging the market to gouge the customer is another thing. What is especially heinous is that these are generic drugs. The cost of Research and Development has already been borne by the inventor and been recovered by their monopoly patent rights. This is just gouging plain and simple.

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on December 9, 2018 8:46 PM.

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