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States sue generic drug makers, claiming a conspiracy to fix prices

The lawsuit maintains that 114 generic drugs cost more than they should

Photo (c) Aslan Alphan - Getty Images
Generic drugs are cheaper than their name brand counterparts, but 44 states have sued 20 generic drug makers over claims that their drugs cost more than they should.

In fact, the complaint filed in federal court accuses the manufacturers of a “broad conspiracy” to inflate and manipulate prices of more than 100 commonly prescribed generic drugs.

The drugs cited in the suit include capsules, tablets, suspensions, creams, gels, ointments, and classes of drugs that include statins, ace inhibitors, beta blockers, antibiotics, antidepressants, contraceptives, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

‘Actively conspired’

The attorneys general filing the complaint said the drugs are used to treat a range of diseases and conditions from basic infections to diabetes, cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, HIV, ADHD, and more. In some instances, they accused the drug companies of working together to boost the price by as much as 1,000 percent.

“Our case alleges that some of the largest generic drug manufacturers in the country actively conspired together to fix prices and profit as a result of their illegal scheme,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Mara Healey. “People depend on generic drugs to keep health care costs down and make medications more affordable. The actions by these companies are reprehensible, illegal, and betray the public’s trust.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James said the evidence gathered by the multi-state investigation showed what she termed a “multi-faceted” conspiracy.

“The scope of the conspiracy is breathtaking, affecting generic drugs that people rely on every day to treat acute and chronic conditions, like diabetes and arthritis,” James said.  “The blatant anticompetitive conduct alleged in the complaint harmed consumers’ health and well-being in multiple ways and we intend to hold the wrongdoers accountable.”

Complete list of drugs

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum released this list of generic drugs the states say are artificially inflated in price:

1. Adapalene Gel

2. Amiloride HCL/HCTZ Tablets

3. Amoxicillin/Clavulanate Chewable Tablets

4. Amphetamine/Dextroamphetamine ER (aka Mixed Amphetamine Salts)

5. Amphetamine/Dextroamphetamine IR

6. Azithromycin Oral Suspension

7. Azithromycin Suspension

8. Baclofen Tablets

9. Benazepril HCTZ

10. Bethanechol Chloride Tablets

11. Budesonide DR Capsules

12. Budesonide Inhalation

13. Bumetanide Tablets

14. Buspirone Hydrochloride Tablets

15. Cabergoline

16. Capecitabine

17. Carbamazepine Chewable Tablets

18. Carbamazepine Tablets

19. Cefdinir Capsules

20. Cefdinir Oral Suspension

21. Cefprozil Tablets

22. Celecoxib

23. Cephalexin Suspension

24. Cimetidine Tablets

25. Ciprofloxacin Tablets

26. Clarithromycin ER Tablets

27. Clemastine Fumarate Tablets

28. Clomipramine HCL

29. Clonidine TTS Patch

30. Clotrimazole Topical Solution

31. Cyproheptadine HCL Tablets

32. Desmopressin Acetate Tablets

33. Desogestrel/Ethinyl Estradiol Tablets (Kariva)

34. Dexmethylphenidate

35. Dextroamphetamine Sulfate ER

36. Diclofenac Potassium Tablets

37. Dicloxacillin Sodium Capsules

38. Diflunisal Tablets

39. Diltiazem HCL Tablets

40. Disopyramide Phosphate Capsules

41. Doxazosin Mesylate Tablets

42. Drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol (Ocella)

43. Enalapril Maleate Tablets

44. Entecavir

45. Epitol Tablets

46. Estazolam Tablets

47. Estradiol Tablets

48. Ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel (Portia and Jolessa)

49. Ethosuximide Capsules

50. Ethosuximide Oral Solution

51. Etodolac ER Tablets

52. Etodolac Tablets

53. Fenofibrate

54. Fluconazole Tablets

55. Fluocinonide Cream

56. Fluocinonide Emolient Cream

57. Fluocinonide Gel

58. Fluocinonide Ointment

59. Fluoxetine HCL Tablets

60. Flurbiprofen Tablets

61. Flutamide Capsules

62. Fluvastatin Sodium Capsules

63. Gabapentin Tablets

64. Glimepiride Tablets

65. Griseofulvin Suspension

66. Haloperidol

67. Hydroxyurea Capsules

68. Hydroxyzine Pamoate Capsules

69. Irbesartan

70. Isoniazid

71. Ketoconazole Cream

72. Ketoconazole Tablets

73. Ketoprofen Capsules

74. Ketorolac Tromethamine Tablets

75. Labetalol HCL Tablets

76. Lamivudine/Zidovudine (generic Combivir)

77. Levothyroxine

78. Loperamide HCL Capsules

79. Medroxyprogesterone Tablets

80. Methotrexate Tablets

81. Mimvey (Estradiol/Noreth) Tablets

82. Moexipril HCL Tablets

83. Moexipril HCL/HCTZ Tablets

84. Nabumetone Tablets

85. Nadolol Tablets

86. Niacin ER Tablets

87. Nitrofurantoin MAC Capsules

88. Norethindrone/ethinyl estradiol (Balziva)

89. Northindrone Acetate

90. Nortriptylline Hydrochloride Capsules

91. Omega-3-Acid Ethyl Esters

92. Oxaprozin Tablets

93. Oxybutynin Chloride Tablets

94. Paricalcitol

95. Penicillin VK Tablets

96. Pentoxifylline Tablets

97. Piroxicam

98. Pravastatin Sodium Tablets

99. Prazosin HCL Capsules

100. Prochlorperazine Tablets

101. Propranolol HCL Tablets

102. Raloxifine HCL Tablets

103. Ranitidine HCL Tablets

104. Tamoxifen Citrate Tablets

105. Temozolomide

106. Tizanidine

107. Tobramycin

108. Tolmetin Sodium Capsules

109. Tolterodine ER

110. Tolterodine Tartrate

111. Topiramate Sprinkle Capsules

112. Trifluoperazine HCL

113. Valsartan HCTZ

114. Warfarin Sodium Tablets

“These generic drugs make up a significant portion of the marketplace, and account for billions of dollars of sales in the United States,” Rosenblum said.

She said the higher prices create a heavier burden for the health insurance market, Medicare and Medicaid, and individuals who purchase the drugs.

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