Shares of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA) under USD 12 after 44 states sued the Company for conspiring with other drug-makers to inflate prices.
The industry-wide scheme impacted the prices of over 100 generic drugs, including asthma medication, oral antibiotics, blood thinners, contraceptives and antidepressants.
Connecticut Attorney General, William Tong, is leading the anti-trust lawsuit, accusing Teva, Sandoz Inc., Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE), Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ MYL) and sixteen other companies of orchestrating a scheme to fix prices on well-known drugs since at least 2012. According to the complaint, the majority of collusive activity occurred from July 2013 until January 2015. During that time, Teva raised the prices of 112 generic drugs, some well over 1,000%.
Fifteen individuals were named as defendants who are alleged to have carried out the day-to-day operations of the scheme. The lawsuit seeks damages, civil penalties and a remedy to restore competition to the generic drug market. “Teva and its co-conspirators embarked on one of the most egregious and damaging price-fixing conspiracies in the history of the United States” the lawsuit said.
Teva denies any wrongdoing. “Teva delivers high-quality medicines to patients around the world and is committed to complying with all applicable competition laws and regulations in doing so. Teva fosters a culture of compliance with these laws and regulations and is dedicated to conducting business with integrity and fairness. Litigation surrounding U.S. generic pricing of several companies, including Teva, continues to be the subject of inaccurate media stories.”
This is not the first time the Israeli drug-maker has come under fire for outrageous prices. In February of last year, Teva announced the launch of a “lower-cost” generic version of Syprine, which treats a rare condition known as Wilson disease. The Company, however, failed to reveal the drug’s price in its initial press release – USD 18,375 for a bottle of 100 pills, or 28 times what Syprine cost in 2010.