It claims the conspirators have fixed prices on more than 100 generics, turning market forces on their head and causing prices to jump by as much as 2,000 percent.
All but six states have joined the lawsuit, accusing the companies plus 15 executives of rigging bids, fixing prices and divvying up territory to drive up prices on more than 100 generic drugs. The documents, Tong said, show that the enormous price hikes on generic drugs American consumers have been dealing with had nothing to do with market forces or product shortages.
Rather than enter a particular generic drug market by competing on price in order to gain market share, "competitors in the generic drug industry would systematically and routinely communicate with one another directly, divvy up customers to create an artificial equilibrium in the market, and then maintain anti-competitively high prices".
The drugs included everything from tablets and capsules to creams and ointments to treat conditions including diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cancer, epilepsy and more, they said.
"By joining this lawsuit we're sending a clear message to pharmaceutical companies: if you harm any of the 6 million people that call Missouri home, we will pursue action and hold you accountable for your actions", Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said in a statement.
A spokesman for Teva said the firm hasn't engaged in any conduct that would lead to civil or criminal liability.
The new court suit was the second that has been filed in the investigation.
To accomplish this goal, the suit says Teva selected a core group of competitors with which it already had "very profitable collusive relationships", and developed understandings to lead and follow each other's price increases. The states are seeking damages, civil penalties, and actions from the courts to help overhaul the generic drug market. "Particularly because a major cause of price increases is illegal collusion by generic drug companies".
Tong said the lawsuit expands on a similar complaint filed in 2016 and said that the lawsuit announced Monday is 10 times bigger.
The industry generally has denied any wrongdoing, although two former executives from Heritage Pharmaceuticals, one of the original defendants, have reached settlements with the coalition of states and are cooperating.
It also says that company executives colluded during industry dinners, lunches, cocktail parties, golf outings and other social events.
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