Coalition of 50 Attorneys General Files Third Antitrust Lawsuit in Ongoing Price-Fixing Investigation
PHOENIX - Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed an antitrust lawsuit along with 50 other attorneys general today, against Taro Pharmaceuticals, Perrigo New York, Fougera Pharmaceuticals (now Sandoz) and 23 more of the nation’s largest generic drug manufacturers alleging a broad conspiracy to artificially inflate and manipulate prices and reduce competition for approximately 80 different generic dermatology drugs. The federal lawsuit also names 10 senior executive defendants who were responsible for sales, marketing, pricing, and operations. This is the third complaint filed by Attorney General Brnovich in conjunction with other state attorneys general regarding collusion among generic drug manufacturers and their executives.
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 (full list of medications below). These medications account for billions of dollars of sales in the United States. Through alleged collusion, the defendants were able to increase prices affecting the health insurance market, taxpayer-funded programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and the cost to consumers. In some instances, the cost of a medication doubled, tripled, or even increased by more than 1,000 percent. The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief, disgorgement of profits, and penalties.
“Countless Arizonans improve their quality of life and treat illnesses and various conditions with generic medications every single day," said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. "Too many Americans are already paying absurdly high and inflated prices for the medicines they need. This broad coalition of attorneys general are working together to ensure powerful drug manufacturers and their executives are held accountable if collusion and conspiracy have driven up consumer prices even more."
The complaint describes how the defendants engaged in a broad scheme to raise dermatological generic drug prices and, through the clear understanding in the industry, communicated with competitors through text messages, emails, telephone calls, and at industry events to coordinate increasing drug prices and maintaining the status quo through reduced competition.
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.
This is the third complaint filed by Arizona in conjunction with other state attorneys general regarding collusion among generic drug manufacturers and their executives. The first complaint, still pending in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, was filed in 2017 and now includes 18 corporate defendants, two individual defendants, and 15 generic drugs. The second complaint, also pending in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, was filed in 2019 against Teva Pharmaceuticals, 19 more of the nation’s largest generic drug manufacturers, 16 individuals, and more than 100 generic drugs.
The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief, disgorgement of profits, and penalties.
Assistant Attorneys General Dana Vogel and Christina Grey of the Consumer Protection and Advocacy Section are handling this case.
Copy of the filed complaint.
Drugs listed in the complaint as subject to price-fixing and market allocation agreements:
- Acetazolamide Tablets
- Adapalene Cream
- Alclometasone Dipropionate Cream
- Alclometasone Dipropionate Ointment
- Ammonium Lactate Cream
- Ammonium Lactate Lotion
- Betamethasone Dipropionate Cream
- Betamethasone Dipropionate Lotion
- Betamethasone Valerate Cream
- Betamethasone Valerate Lotion
- Betamethasone Valerate Ointment
- Bromocriptine Mesylate Tablets
- Calcipotriene Solution
- Calcipotriene Betamethasone Dipropionate Ointment
- Carbamazepine ER Tablets
- Cefpodoxime Proxetil Oral Suspension
- Cefpodoxime Proxetil Tablets
- Ciclopirox Cream
- Ciclopirox Shampoo
- Ciclopirox Solution
- Clindamycin Phosphate Cream
- Clindamycin Phosphate Gel
- Clindamycin Phosphate Lotion
- Clindamycin Phosphate Solution
- Clobetasol Propionate Cream
- Clobetasol Propionate Emollient Cream
- Clobetasol Propionate Gel
- Clobetasol Propionate Ointment
- Clobetasol Propionate Solution
- Clotrimazole 1% Cream
- Clotrimazole Betamethasone Dipropionate Cream
- Clotrimazole Betamethasone Dipropionate Lotion
- Desonide Cream
- Desonide Lotion
- Desonide Ointment
- Desoximetasone Ointment
- Econazole Nitrate Cream
- Eplerenone Tablets
- Erythromycin Base/Ethyl Alcohol Solution
- Ethambutol HCL Tablets
- Fluocinolone Acetonide Cream
- Fluocinolone Acetonide Ointment
- Fluocinonide .1% Cream
- Fluocinonide Gel
- Fluocinonide Ointment
- Fluocinonide Solution
- Fluticasone Propionate Lotion
- Griseofulvin Microsize Tablets
- Halobetasol Propionate Cream
- Halobetasol Propionate Ointment
- Hydrocortisone Acetate Suppositories
- Hydrocortisone Valerate Cream
- Imiquimod Cream
- Ketoconazole Cream
- Latanoprost Drops
- Lidocaine Ointment
- Methazolamide Tablets
- Methylphenidate HCL Tablets
- Methylphenidate HCL ER Tablets
- Metronidazole Cream
- Metronidazole .75% Gel
- Metronidazole .1% Gel
- Metronidazole Lotion
- Mometasone Furoate Cream
- Mometasone Furoate Ointment
- Mometasone Furoate Solution
- Nafcillin Sodium Injectable Vials
- Nystatin Ointment
- Nystatin Triamcinolone Cream
- Nystatin Triamcinolone Ointment
- Oxacillin Sodium Injectable Vials
- Phenytoin Sodium ER Capsules
- Pioglitazone HCL Metformin HCL Tablets
- Prochlorperazine Maleate Suppositories
- Promethazine HCL Suppositories
- Tacrolimus Ointment
- Terconazole Cream
- Triamcinolone Acetonide Cream
- Triamcinolone Acetonide Ointment
- Triamcinolone Acetonide Paste
- Sandoz, Inc.
- Actavis Holdco U.S., Inc.
- Actavis Elizabeth LLC
- Actavis Pharma, Inc.
- Amneal Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
- Amneal Pharmaceuticals, LLC
- Aurobindo Pharma USA, Inc.
- Bausch Health Americas, Inc.
- Bausch Health, US LLC
- Fougera Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
- G&W Laboratories, Inc.
- Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Inc., USA
- Greenstone LLC
- Lannett Company, Inc.
- Lupin Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
- Mallinckrodt Inc.
- Mallinckrodt plc
- Mallinckrodt LLC
- Mylan Inc.
- Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc.
- Perrigo New York, Inc.
- Pfizer, Inc.
- Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Inc.
- Taro Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.
- Teligent, Inc.
- Wockhardt USA, LLC
- Ara Aprahamian, the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Defendant Taro Pharmaceuticals U.S.A, Inc.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Armando Kellum, the former Vice President, Contracting and Business Analytics at Sandoz.
- 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.
- 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.
- Erika Vogel-Baylor, the former Vice President for Sales and Marketing for Defendant G&W Labs, Inc. since July 2011.
- John Wesolowski, the Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations for Defendant Perrigo since February 2004.