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Hawai‘i Joins 39 States in Drug Price Suit

March 7, 2017, 12:00 PM HST
* Updated March 7, 12:21 PM
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Attorney General Doug Chin recently announced that Hawai‘i joined 39 states in a federal antitrust lawsuit over inflated drug prices.

The lawsuit alleges that six generic drug-makers entered into illegal conspiracies to unreasonably restrain trade, artificially inflate prices and reduce competition in the U.S. for two generic drugs: doxycycline hyclate delayed release (an antibiotic) and glyburide (a diabetes medication).

The federal court filing amends a lawsuit initially filed in December 2016. The December 2016 complaint alleged violations of federal antitrust law and included 19 plaintiff states.

The amended complaint increases the number of plaintiff states in the lawsuit from 20 to 40. It also alleges violations of state antitrust laws and state consumer protection laws. The defendants include Heritage Pharmaceuticals Inc., Aurobindo Pharma USA Inc., Citron Pharma LLC, Mayne Pharma (USA) Inc., Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc.

Connecticut is leading the multistate group of plaintiff states, consisting of Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawai‘i, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

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In July 2014, Connecticut began to investigate the reasons behind suspicious price increases of certain generic pharmaceuticals. According to the complaint, the investigation, which is still ongoing as to a number of additional generic drugs, generic drug companies and key executives, uncovered evidence of a well-coordinated and long-running conspiracy to fix prices and allocate markets for doxycycline hyclate delayed release and glyburide.

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The amended complaint further alleges that the defendants 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 complaint alleges that the anticompetitive conduct—including efforts to fix and maintain prices, allocate markets and otherwise thwart competition—continues to cause significant harm to the country’s healthcare system.

The lawsuit was filed under seal in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.

Download a redacted version of the amended  complaint: GDMS-First Amended Complaint FINAL (Redacted) 3.1.17.

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