(STL.News) – Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Inc., USA was charged for conspiring to fix prices for generic drugs, the Department of Justice announced today.
The charge, filed today in the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, alleges that Glenmark conspired with other generic drug companies, including a company with its principal place of business in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, and Apotex Corp., to increase and maintain prices of pravastatin and other generic drugs beginning in or around May 2013 and continuing until at least in or around December 2015. Pravastatin is a prescription medication that reduces cholesterol, helping to prevent heart attacks and strokes. The charge alleges that the gain to the conspirators, and the loss to the victims, was at least $200 million.
“By cheating through fixing prices, generic drug companies artificially raised prices even though prescription drug costs were already sky high,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. “As today’s charge shows, the Antitrust Division will not hesitate to charge these companies, and litigate where necessary, particularly where their crimes resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in overcharges for life-saving medications.”
“During these difficult times, it is more important than ever that our pharmaceutical companies conduct business with the well-being of the consumer in mind,” said Deputy Special Agent in Charge Steven Stuller, U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General. “When generic drug companies conspire to artificially increase prices, they do so to the detriment of many who depend on these medications to maintain good health. Along with the Department of Justice Antitrust Division and our partners at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the USPS Office of Inspector General will remain committed to investigating those who would engage in this type of harmful conduct.”
“The FBI will continue to work closely with our partners to pursue companies and individuals who seek to manipulate the economic system to their benefit,” said Timothy R. Slater, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office. “Today’s charge demonstrates the FBI’s ongoing commitment to rooting out this greed and illegal activity. There are real victims in these crimes; they are the patients around the country who rely on these vital medications.”
“Artificially inflating the price of medication is reprehensible and illegal,” said Jennifer Arbittier Williams, First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. “This ill-gotten gain by the pharmaceutical industry potentially put the health of millions of Americans at risk. Just as with the other charges that have been brought out of this investigation into generic pharmaceuticals, today’s announcement demonstrates that we will continue to hold accountable any company that engages in this type of conduct.”
Glenmark is the fifth company to be charged over the last 13 months in connection with antitrust violations in the generic pharmaceutical industry. The previous corporate charges, including the charge against Glenmark’s co-conspirator Apotex, were resolved by deferred prosecution agreement. Four senior executives have also been charged. Three entered guilty pleas and the fourth is awaiting trial.
A criminal Information merely alleges that a crime has been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The offense charged carries a statutory maximum penalty of $100 million, which may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by victims if either amount is greater than $100 million.