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June 10, 2020

Miller joins third lawsuit alleging generic drug price fixing 

Complaint names 26 companies selling topical dermatological drugs 

DES MOINES ― Attorney General Tom Miller joined a coalition of 51 attorneys general filing the third lawsuit stemming from an antitrust investigation into a widespread conspiracy by generic drug manufacturers to artificially inflate and manipulate prices, reduce competition, and unreasonably restrain trade for generic drugs sold across the United States.  

This new complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, focuses on 80 topical generic drugs that account for billions of dollars of sales in the United States. The complaint names 26 corporate defendants and 10 individual defendants. The lawsuit seeks damages, civil penalties, and actions by the court to restore competition to the generic drug market.  

The topical drugs at the center of the complaint include creams, gels, lotions, ointments, shampoos, and solutions used to treat a variety of skin conditions, pain, and allergies. 

“The list of defendants involved in the collusion alleged in this lawsuit is long, but the list of victims is longer,” Attorney General Miller said. “Iowa consumers, businesses, and taxpayers have paid excessive prices because of this multi-billion-dollar fraud.”  

The complaint stems from an ongoing investigation built on evidence from several cooperating witnesses at the core of the conspiracy, a massive database of more than  20 million documents, and a phone records database containing millions of call detail records and contact information for more than 600 sales and pricing individuals in the generics industry. Among the records obtained by the states is a two-volume notebook containing the contemporaneous notes of one of the states’ cooperators that memorialized his discussions during phone calls with competitors and internal company meetings over a period of several years.  

Between 2007 and 2014, three generic drug manufacturers, Taro, Perrigo, and Fougera (now Sandoz) sold nearly two-thirds of all generic topical products dispensed in the United States. The multistate investigation has uncovered comprehensive, direct evidence of unlawful agreements to minimize competition and raise prices on dozens of topical products. The complaint alleges longstanding agreements among manufacturers to ensure a “fair share” of the market for each competitor, and to prevent “price erosion” due to competition. 

The complaint is the third to be filed in an expanding investigation that the Connecticut Office of the Attorney General has referred to as possibly the largest domestic corporate cartel case in the history of the United States. 

Iowa joined the first complaint in December 2016 against Heritage Pharmaceuticals and other generic drug makers. The first complaint, still pending in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, now includes 18 corporate defendants, two individual defendants, and 15 generic drugs. Two former executives from Heritage Pharmaceuticals, Jeffery Glazer and Jason Malek, have entered into settlement agreements and are cooperating with the attorneys general working group in that case.  

Iowa joined the second complaint in May 2019 against Teva Pharmaceuticals and 19 of the nation's largest generic drug manufacturers. That second complaint, also pending in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania,  names 16 individual senior executive defendants. The states are preparing for trial on that complaint.  

 

Drugs listed in the complaint as subject to price fixing and market allocation agreements:  

  1.  Acetazolamide Tablets 
  2. Adapalene Cream 
  3. Alclometasone Dipropionate Cream 
  4. Alclometasone Dipropionate Ointment 
  5. Ammonium Lactate Cream 
  6. Ammonium Lactate Lotion 
  7. Betamethasone Dipropionate Cream 
  8. Betamethasone Dipropionate Lotion 
  9. Betamethasone Valerate Cream 
  10. Betamethasone Valerate Lotion 
  11. Betamethasone Valerate Ointment 
  12. Bromocriptine Mesylate Tablets 
  13. Calcipotriene Solution 
  14. Calcipotriene Betamethasone Dipropionate Ointment 
  15. Carbamazepine ER Tablets 
  16. Cefpodoxime Proxetil Oral Suspension 
  17. Cefpodoxime Proxetil Tablets 
  18. Ciclopirox Cream 
  19. Ciclopirox Shampoo 
  20. Ciclopirox Solution 
  21. Clindamycin Phosphate Cream 
  22. Clindamycin Phosphate Gel 
  23. Clindamycin Phosphate Lotion 
  24. Clindamycin Phosphate Solution 
  25. Clobetasol Propionate Cream 
  26. Clobetasol Propionate Emollient Cream 
  27. Clobetasol Propionate Gel 
  28. Clobetasol Propionate Ointment 
  29. Clobetasol Propionate Solution 
  30. Clotrimazole 1% Cream 
  31. Clotrimazole Betamethasone Dipropionate Cream 
  32. Clotrimazole Betamethasone Dipropionate Lotion 
  33. Desonide Cream 
  34. Desonide Lotion 
  35. Desonide Ointment 
  36. Desoximetasone Ointment 
  37. Econazole Nitrate Cream 
  38. Eplerenone Tablets 
  39. Erythromycin Base/Ethyl Alcohol Solution 
  40. Ethambutol HCL Tablets 
  41. Fluocinolone Acetonide Cream 
  42. Fluocinolone Acetonide Ointment 
  43. Fluocinonide .1% Cream 
  44. Fluocinonide Gel   
  45. Fluocinonide Ointment   
  46. Fluocinonide Solution 
  47. Fluticasone Propionate Lotion 
  48. Griseofulvin Microsize Tablets 
  49. Halobetasol Propionate Cream 
  50. Halobetasol Propionate Ointment 
  51. Hydrocortisone Acetate Suppositories 
  52. Hydrocortisone Valerate Cream 
  53. Imiquimod Cream 
  54. Ketoconazole Cream 
  55. Latanoprost Drops 
  56. Lidocaine Ointment 
  57. Methazolamide Tablets 
  58. Methylphenidate HCL Tablets 
  59. Methylphenidate HCL ER Tablets 
  60. Metronidazole Cream 
  61. Metronidazole .75% Gel 
  62. Metronidazole .1% Gel 
  63. Metronidazole Lotion 
  64. Mometasone Furoate Cream 
  65. Mometasone Furoate Ointment 
  66. Mometasone Furoate Solution 
  67. Nafcillin Sodium Injectable Vials 
  68. Nystatin Ointment 
  69. Nystatin Triamcinolone Cream 
  70. Nystatin Triamcinolone Ointment 
  71. Oxacillin Sodium Injectable Vials 
  72. Phenytoin Sodium ER Capsules 
  73. Pioglitazone HCL Metformin HCL Tablets 
  74. Prochlorperazine Maleate Suppositories 
  75. Promethazine HCL Suppositories 
  76. Tacrolimus Ointment 
  77. Terconazole Cream 
  78. Triamcinolone Acetonide Cream 
  79. Triamcinolone Acetonide Ointment 
  80. Triamcinolone Acetonide Paste 

Corporate defendants:  

  1. Sandoz, Inc. 
  2. Actavis Holdco U.S., Inc. 
  3. Actavis Elizabeth LLC 
  4. Actavis Pharma, Inc. 
  5. Amneal Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 
  6. Amneal Pharmaceuticals, LLC  
  7. Aurobindo Pharma USA, Inc. 
  8. Bausch Health Americas, Inc. 
  9. Bausch Health, US LLC 
  10. Fougera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 
  11. G&W Laboratories, Inc. 
  12. Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Inc., USA 
  13. Greenstone LLC 
  14. Lannett Company, Inc. 
  15. Lupin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 
  16. Mallinckrodt Inc. 
  17. Mallinckrodt plc 
  18. Mallinckrodt LLC 
  19. Mylan Inc. 
  20. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. 
  21. Perrigo New York, Inc. 
  22. Pfizer, Inc.  
  23. Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Inc.  
  24. Taro Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. 
  25. Teligent, Inc. 
  26. Wockhardt USA, LLC 

  

  Individual defendants:  

  1. Ara Aprahamian, the Vice President of Sales and Marketing  at defendant Taro Pharmaceuticals U.S.A, Inc. 
  2. Mitchell Blashinsky, the Vice President of Marketing for Generics at defendant Taro Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. from January 2007 through May 2012, and Vice President of Sales and Marketing at defendant Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Inc., USA from June 2012 through March 2014.  
  3. Douglas Boothe, the Chief Executive Officer of defendant Actavis from August 2008 through December 2012 and the Executive Vice President and General Manager of defendant Perrigo New York, Inc. from January 2013 through July 2016. 
  4.  James Grauso, the former Vice President of Sales and Marketing at defendant G&W Laboratories from January 2010 through December 2011; the Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations for defendant Aurobindo from December 2011 through January 2014; and the Executive Vice President, N.A. Commercial Operations at defendant Glenmark from February 2014 to the present. 
  5.  Walt Kaczmarek, the Senior Director, National Accounts, Vice President, National Accounts and Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations from November 2004 through November 2012 for Fougera Pharmaceuticals, a division of Nycomed US, Inc. (currently part of defendant Sandoz, Inc.), and Vice President - General Manager, and President, Multi-Source Pharmaceuticals from November 2013 through August 2016 for defendant Mallinckrodt. 
  6. Armando Kellum, the former Vice President, Contracting and Business Analytics at Sandoz. 
  7. Kurt Orlofski, the President and Chief Executive Officer from April 2007 through August 2009 for defendant Wockhardt USA, and President of defendant G&W Labs, Inc. from September 2009 through December 2016.   
  8.  Mike Perfetto, the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for defendant Actavis from August 2003 through January 2013, and the Chief Commercial Officer for defendant Taro from January 2013 through his recent retirement from the company.  
  9.  Erika Vogel-Baylor, the former Vice President for Sales and Marketing for defendant G&W Labs, Inc. since July 2011. 
  10.  John Wesolowski, the Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations for defendant Perrigo since February 2004. 

In filing the complaint, Attorney General Miller joined the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Territory of Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, U.S. Virgin Islands, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. 

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