Connecticut, which is leading a multistate investigation of an anti-trust lawsuit against 18 generic pharma companies, including five Indian firms, over price cartelisation on Wednesday said it has unsealed some key details of possibly the “largest cartel case in the history of the United States”. Initials and titles of individuals implicated in the conspiracy, industry “code words” and previously undisclosed emails from drug companies “brazenly discussing strategy to violate federal and state antitrust laws” have been uncovered, the Office of Attorney General of Connecticut that filed this suit in said.
The Indian generic makers named in the lawsuit are Aurobindo, Dr Reddy’s, Emcure, Glenmark, and Zydus. The other generic makers named in the suit include Apotex, Teva, Heritage Pharma, and Par Pharma, The state of Connecticut alleged that these drug companies entered into conspiracies to fix prices and allocate customers in order to inflate and manipulate prices, reduce competition, and unreasonably restrain trade for 15 separate generic drugs. As a result of this misconduct, the prices of generic drugs have skyrocketed and American consumers have been paying the financial cost, its lawsuit said.
The lawsuit names several senior executives of generic drug companies , including senior sales manager at Sun Pharma, president of Sun Pharma, vice president, sales and marketing at Dr Reddy’s, president, corporate development, at Emcure, executive VP at Mayne Pharma, VP national accounts at Par Pharma, and senior director of national accounts at Zydus as co-conspirators.
“The unredacted complaint sheds new light on commonly used code words used by co-conspirators as they colluded with competitors to divvy up market share and coordinate on price increases in violation of federal anti-trust law. These include ‘fair share’ and ‘playing nice in the sandbox’,” said a statement released by Elizabeth Benton, director of communications at the Attorney General Office of Connecticut.
According to email statements, text messages and phone records of these executives came together in several occasions to align their drug launches and pricing strategies in same level. This included raising prices or getting off the market at the same time. The common person in these price fixing discussions is Rajiv Malik, who is seen to give instructions to his team on negotiating with executives of these companies on when and at what price the drugs should be launched. An email sent to Aurobindo, Dr Reddy’s, Emcure, Glenmark, and Zydus did not elicit any response as of press time Wednesday.