Attorney General Andy Beshear has joined a 44-state coalition in support of Kentuckians and the public being able to see and read the price-fixing allegations against Teva Pharmaceuticals and 19 of the nation’s largest generic drug manufacturers.
The coalition is asking for the complaint, which they filed on May 10 in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, to be unsealed for public consumption. The complaint was filed under seal to comply with standard investigative subpoena procedure.
The attorneys general allege the companies engaged in a broad conspiracy to artificially inflate and manipulate prices, reduce competition and unreasonably restrain trade for more than 100 different drugs.
“Kentuckians deserve to know why they have paid too much for many prescription drugs,” said Beshear. “The evidence I want Kentuckians to see clearly illustrates how these companies and individuals conspired to inflate drug prices and put profits ahead of the medical needs of our families.”
The complaint is the second to be filed in an ongoing, expanding investigation that has been referred to as possibly the largest cartel case in the history of the United States. The first complaint was similarly filed under seal initially and later released in full with permission from the court.
Sandoz Inc., Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Pfizer Inc. were also named in the new complaint for allegedly engaging in a widespread scheme to inflate and fix the price of more than 100 generic drugs.
Employees from these drug companies allegedly engaged in the price-inflation scheme from July 2013 to January 2015 via phone, email and text message and during routine meetings at industry trade shows, golf outings, cocktail parties and customer events.
As a result, some drug prices increased more than 1000% and the companies realized staggering profits at a significant cost to the state’s health insurance market, taxpayer-funded programs like Medicaid and Medicare, and Kentuckians who simply paid too much for drugs. A calculation by Teva’s marketing director estimated a “net upside” of the drug price increases of nearly $1 billion per quarter.
Beshear alleges the drug manufacturers violated the state Consumer Protection Act and federal anti-trust laws. The lawsuit marks Beshear’s third against Teva.
In 2016, Beshear and other states’ attorneys general sued 18 drug manufacturers, including Teva, over allegations of increasing the price of 15 generic drugs. The ongoing investigation from 2016 led to the 2019 complaint.
Beshear also sued Teva in 2018 over its role in fueling Kentucky’s opioid epidemic. Teva filed a motion to dismiss the case, which was heard on April 29 in Fayette Circuit Court where the judge denied the motion from the bench.
Kentucky leads the nation in the number of individual opioid lawsuits filed by an attorney general. Beshear has brought a total of nine lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies for allegedly flooding Kentucky communities with addictive prescription drugs.
Beshear also recentlyopened an investigation into allegations that the state’s PBMs overcharged Kentuckians, Kentucky’s Medicaid program, the state employee health plan, and independent pharmacies for prescription drugs.
In addition, Beshear filed a lawsuit in May against three of the largest insulin producers, Eli Lilly, Sanofi-Aventis and Novo Nordisk, for deceptive pricing schemes that endanger the welfare of Kentuckians suffering from diabetes and costing some more than $1,000 per month.
“I am demanding these pharmaceutical companies take responsibility for their actions. Kentucky’s families deserve answers,” Beshear said.