Six pharmaceutical companies in hot water after 20 states file lawsuit for alleged price-fixing

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HARTFORD, Conn. — 20 states have joined a lawsuit against six generic drug-makers, alleging they artificially inflated and manipulated prices to reduce competition for an antibiotic and oral diabetes medication.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Connecticut. Joining Connectict are the states of Kansas, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington. Portions of the complaint are redacted because there are ongoing investigations into the matter.

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen says his office began its probe more than two years ago and “developed compelling evidence of collusion and anticompetitive conduct” among many companies that manufacture and market generic drugs.

Jepsen refers to Eatontown, New Jersey-based Heritage Pharmaceuticals as the “principal architect” of the alleged conspiracies.

Federal authorities on Wednesday charged two former Heritage executives with fixing prices. Heritage says it terminated those executives in August and is fully cooperating with the Department of Justice.

One of the six companies named is Mylan, the corporation behind the EpiPen, which was earlier this year caught up in another scandal for systematically raising the price of the life-saving medical device to levels that sparked public outrage. The average price of an EpiPen went from $50 in 2007 to more than $300 this past summer, Bloomberg reported.

The complaint also targets Teva Pharmaceuticals, the world’s largest manufacturer of generic medicines.