Antitrust Law Daily Teva USA charged with fixing generic drug prices
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Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Teva USA charged with fixing generic drug prices

By Jeffrey May, J.D.

Second superseding indictment filed in case against Glenmark Pharmaceuticals ties Teva to alleged conspiracies with Glenmark, Apotex, Taro Pharmaceuticals, and Sandoz. Teva vows to vigorously defend itself in court.

A federal grand jury in Philadelphia has charged Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., the U.S. unit of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., with conspiring to fix prices for generic drugs, including: cholesterol medication pravastatin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug etodolac, beta-blocker nadolol, chemotherapy drug temozolomide, and antibiotic tobramycin. Teva USA was charged in a second superseding indictment in a case filed earlier this year against Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Inc., USA. Glenmark pleaded not guilty last month. Teva issued a statement that it rejects the allegations and will vigorously defend the company in court, noting an unwillingness on the part of the Department of Justice to consider alternatives to litigation (U.S. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., Case No. 2:20-cr-00200-RBS).

The Department of Justice announced on August 25 that Teva USA was charged with participating in three conspiracies from at least as early as May 2013 until at least in or around Dec. 2015. Teva USA is the seventh generic drug manufacturer charged in an ongoing criminal antitrust investigation. The government charged Teva with conspiring with Glenmark, Apotex Corp., Taro Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc., Sandoz Inc., and others.

Count one charged Teva for its alleged role in a conspiracy that included Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, Apotex Corp., and others. On May 7, Apotex admitted to its role in this conspiracy and agreed to pay a $24.1 million penalty under a deferred prosecution agreement. On July 14, a grand jury returned a superseding indictment against Glenmark for its role in the same conspiracy. According to the charge, Teva, Glenmark, Apotex, and unnamed co-conspirators agreed to increase prices for pravastatin and other generic drugs. Pravastatin is a commonly prescribed cholesterol medication that lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Count two charged Teva for its alleged role in a conspiracy with Taro Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc., former Taro USA executive Ara Aprahamian, and others. On July 23, Taro U.S.A. admitted to its role in this conspiracy and agreed under a deferred prosecution agreement to pay a $205.7 million penalty to resolve that charge as well as its role in a separate antitrust conspiracy. Aprahamian was indicted in February 2020 for his role in the conspiracy with Teva, among other charges, and is awaiting trial. According to the charge, Teva and its co-conspirators agreed to increase prices, rig bids, and allocate customers for generic drugs including, but not limited to, drugs used to treat and manage arthritis, seizures, pain, skin conditions, and blood clots.

Count three charged Teva for its alleged role in a conspiracy with Sandoz Inc. and others. In March 2020, Sandoz admitted to its role in this conspiracy, as well as in conspiracies with other generic drug manufacturers. At that time, the government announced that Sandoz agreed to pay a $195 million under a deferred prosecution agreement. According to the charge, Teva and its co-conspirators agreed to increase prices, rig bids, and allocate customers for generic drugs including, but not limited to, drugs used to treat brain cancer, cystic fibrosis, arthritis, and hypertension.

The case is No. 2:20-cr-00200-RBS.

Attorneys: Beth Wilkinson, Alexandra Walsh, Brian Stekloff, and Kosta Stojilkovic (Wilkinson Walsh) for Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Companies: Apotex Corp.; Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Sandoz Inc.; Taro Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc.; Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc.

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