Teva charged in US price-fixing investigation

The US Department of Justice has charged Teva with conspiring with other pharma companies to fix prices for generic drugs.

According to an indictment filed on Tuesday, the company participated in three counts of conspiracy from at least May 2013 until around December 2015, which could have resulted in customers being overcharged by at least $350 million.

The Department alleges that Teva conspired with companies including Sandoz, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, Apotex and Taro USA to increase prices, rig bids, and allocate customers for generic drugs including medicines for arthritis, brain cancer, cystic fibrosis, seizures, pain, skin conditions, and blood clots, as well as the cholesterol medicine pravastatin.

Sandoz, Apotex and Taro USA have admitted to their roles in these conspiracies and agreed to pay fines. Glenmark is awaiting trial.

Four pharma company executives have also been charged, three of whom have entered guilty pleas. The fourth, Apotex’s former executive Ara Aprahamian, is awaiting trial.

Each of the charged offenses carry a statutory maximum penalty of $100 million for companies, but the maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims if either amount is greater than $100 million.

“Today’s charge reaffirms that no company is too big to be prosecuted for its role in conspiracies that led to substantially higher prices for generic drugs relied on by millions of Americans,” said assistant attorney general Makan Delrahim of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.

“The division will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to ensure that companies that blatantly cheat consumers of the benefits of free markets are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

In a statement Teva said it was “deeply disappointed” that the government had chosen to proceed with this prosecution.

“The Company has been investigating this matter for over four years and has concluded that Teva did not participate in price fixing,” it said. “Based on our internal review, Teva firmly rejects the allegations and will vigorously defend the Company in court.

“Teva has fully cooperated throughout the course of the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation and has attempted to reach a resolution in the best interest of the Company, its stakeholders and the patients the company serves. The DOJ has shown an unwillingness to consider alternatives that would not deeply impact Teva and the stakeholders who depend on the Company, including the patients who benefit from our medicines.”

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