Lawsuit filed by Delaware and dozens of stares expands to price fixing 300 generic drugs

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A lawsuit filed by Delaware and other statesover an alleged “generic drug” price fixing cartel has been expanded to 300 drugs, the Washington Post reported.

The suit has expanded from a few drugs in 2016 to the 300 figure. Delaware joined 19 other states in filing suit in 2016 and announced an expanded probe in 2017 as more states signed on to the action.

The Delaware Attorney General’s Office had no comment on the expanded suit.

The lawsuit alleges that conspiracies were part of a much broader, overarching industry code of conduct that enabled the defendant manufacturers to divide the market for specific generic drugs as part of an established, agreed-upon understanding for assigning each competitor their share of the market, a release from Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn stated in 2017.

“Generic drugs make up 88 percent of the prescriptions written in the United States,” Denn stated in 2017. “Prescription drug costs are a significant part of the health care costs borne by Delawareans. It is critical that pharmaceutical companies follow the law when it comes to setting the prices for their products, and we will continue to work with other states to be vigilant in ensuring compliance by the pharmaceutical industry.”

The trade association representing generic drug companies has responded by claiming that generics are saving consumers and insurers money. (See below)

Generic drugs are drugs that have lost patent protection that opens the door companies making competing drugs

There have been long-time complaints that companies have been raising prices of generics with little justification, since the company that discovered the drug has already borne the research and development costs.

The Post story cited the case of a long-used asthma drug that saw its price by more than 3,400 percent, from 13 cents a tablet to more than $4.70. The figure came from a separate lawsuit filed against manufacturers of generics.

The end of patent protection for drugs led to the loss of thousands of jobs in Delaware as AstraZeneca saw drugs with billions of dollars in sales, such as heart drug Crestor and heartburn drug Nexium, lose patents.

AZ responded by shutting down and later razing research operations in Delaware and moving some jobs to its Medimmune business in suburban Washington, D.C.

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