W.Va. sues Mylan, other drugmakers

CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has joined in a civil lawsuit against 20 drug manufacturers, alleging a scheme to inflate and manipulate prices for more than 100 different generic drugs.

Named in the suit were Mylan Pharmaceuticals, headquartered in Canonsburg, Pa., and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, based out of Israel, as well as 18 other pharmaceutical companies.

The lawsuit, brought forth by the attorneys general of 44 states, also names 15 individual senior executive defendants at the heart of the alleged conspiracy who were responsible for sales, marketing, pricing and operations, including James Nesta, Vice President of Sales at Mylan. Mylan representatives were not able to be reached for comment Monday evening.

“The allegations that we have included in the complaint, when proven, are illegal and those who participated in this type of conspiracy must be held accountable,” Morrisey said. “Antitrust violations drive up prices for the consumer and, in this instance, it impacts those in desperate need of prescription drugs.”

The lawsuit alleges 20 of the nation’s largest generic drug makers engaged in a broad, coordinated and systematic campaign to conspire with each other to fix prices, allocate markets and rig bids for more than 100 different drugs. This alleged collusion involved an interconnected web of industry executives who met with each other during lunches, cocktail parties and golf outings, as well as frequent communication via phone calls, text messages and emails.

“(The) defendants use these opportunities to discuss and share competitively-sensitive information concerning upcoming bids, specific generic drug markets, pricing strategies and pricing terms in their contracts with customers,” the lawsuit states.

The drugs at issue account for billions of dollars of sales in the United States, and the alleged schemes increased prices affecting the health insurance market and individuals who must pay artificially-inflated prices for their prescription drugs.

Those drugs include medications to treat or manage depression, diabetes, cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, HIV, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and a host of other conditions.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, seeks damages, civil penalties and actions by the court to restore competition to the generic drug market.

Other pharmaceutical companies named as defendants are Sandoz Inc.; Actavis Holdco US Inc.; Actavis Pharma Inc.; Amneal Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Apotex Corp.; Aurobindo Pharma U.S.A. Inc.; Breckenridge Pharmaceutical Inc.; Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Inc.; Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Greenstone LLC; Lannett Company Inc.; Lupin Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Par Pharmaceutical Companies Inc.; Pfizer Inc.; Taro Pharmaceuticals USA Inc.; Upsher-Smith Laboratories LLC; Wockhardt USA LLC; and Zydus Pharmaceuticals (USA) Inc.

(Olson can be contacted at aolson@theintelligencer.net)