Healthcare

Drugmakers allegedly conspired to raise prices, AG sues

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Attorney General Hector Balderas announced Monday (July 17) that he's joining four other states in filing a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against six pharmaceutical companies that make generic drugs.

The suit alleges the companies engaged in illegal conspiracies to unreasonably restrain trade, artificially inflate and manipulate prices and reduce competition in the United States for two generic drugs, according to a press release from Balderas' office.

"I will continue to hold big out-of-state corporations accountable when then they rip off New Mexico consumers. When companies put profits over patients, they will face the full extent of New Mexico law," Balderas said.

"All New Mexico children, families and seniors deserve affordable access to the lifesaving medications that they rely on every day," he said.

An ongoing investigation uncovered evidence of a well-coordinated and long-running conspiracy to fix prices and allocate markets for doxycycline hyclate delayed release, an antibiotic, and glyburide, an oral diabetes medication.

The state's complaint alleges the companies routinely coordinated their schemes through direct interaction with their competitors at industry trade shows, customer conferences and other events, as well as through direct email, phone and text message communications. The alleged anticompetitive conduct - including efforts to fix and maintain prices, allocate markets and otherwise thwart competition - caused significant, harmful and continuing effects in the country's health care system, according to the suit.

Balderas' lawsuit mirrors ongoing litigation from 40 states that alleges violations of federal and state antitrust laws and state consumer protection laws. That suit takes aim at generic companies Heritage Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Aurobindo Pharma USA, Inc.; Citron Pharma, LLC; Mayne Pharma (USA), Inc.; Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.

New Mexico and the other states in the lawsuit are asking the court to prevent the companies from engaging in illegal, anticompetitive behavior - as well as for substantial financial relief - in order to address the violations of law and restore competition to the generic drug market.

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