Antitrust case: Indian firms to defend price fixing charges in US lawsuithttps://indianexpress.com/article/business/antitrust-case-indian-firms-to-defend-price-fixing-charges-in-us-lawsuit-5727858/

Antitrust case: Indian firms to defend price fixing charges in US lawsuit

The lawsuit is about collusion in inflating prices of widely-prescribed generic medicines and names 21 generic drug manufacturers as conspirators in price-fixing scheme.

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The lawsuit is about collusion in inflating prices of widely-prescribed generic medicines and names 21 generic drug manufacturers as conspirators in price-fixing scheme.

In response to the allegations made in the antitrust lawsuit filed by over 40 US states against 21 pharma manufacturers, domestic generic companies have decided to vigorously defend the allegations as the lawsuit is without merit and said it will not have any immediate material impact on the companies’ operations.

The antitrust case was first filed in December 2016 by the Attorney General of the State of Connecticut along with the Attorneys’ General of various other US states filing a lawsuit in the Federal Court alleging that seven Indian generic companies in the US, along few other companies, had violated antitrust laws by fixing prices and allocating customers (the “First State AG Action”). On June 18, 2018, an amended complaint was filed in the First State AG Action.

The lawsuit is about collusion in inflating prices of widely-prescribed generic medicines and names 21 generic drug manufacturers as conspirators in price-fixing scheme. They include Teva, Sandoz, Mylan, Pfizer, Actavis, Amneal, Apotex, Aurobindo, Breckenridge, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, Greenstone, Lannett, Glenmark, Lupin, Par, Rising, Taro Israel, Taro USA, Upsher-Smith, Wockhardt USA and Zydus.

In a regulatory filing to the stock exchanges, Aurobindo Pharma said, “On May 10, 2019, the Attorney General of the State of Connecticut and additional Attorneys’ General of various US states filed a second lawsuit in Federal Court similarly alleging that Aurobindo and other companies in US generic drug industry had violated antitrust laws by fixing prices and allocating customers (the “Second State AG Action”). “The Second State AG Action includes additional parties and additional products which were not referenced in the First State AG Action,” the filing said.

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Aurobindo Pharma said it is currently reviewing the second lawsuit and said “we expect that we will be filing papers with the Federal Court in due course denying each of the relevant accusations”. “Aurobindo does not, at this time, anticipate that these matters will have a material impact on the company’s operations or business results,” it added.

Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, in its response said its US subsidiary is specifically named as a defendant with respect to five generic drugs which include Ciprofloxacin HCL tablets, Glimepiride tablets, Oxaprozin tablets, Paricalcitol and Tizanidine, for an alleged “overarching conspiracy”. “All cases related to Attorney Generals’ lawsuits and certain private plaintiffs class action suits, including the above, would be consolidated in the multi district litigation (MDL). We intend to vigorously defend against these allegations and are in the process of filing our response with the District Court of Connecticut,” it said. According to a PTI report, Sun Pharma in a regulatory filing said that its subsidiary Taro Pharmaceuticals USA Inc has been named in the second lawsuit. “The allegations made in these lawsuits are without merit and our concerned subsidiaries will continue to vigorously defend against them,” it said. Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Limited has not been named in the litigations,it clarified.

Wockhardt was quoted by PTI as saying anti-trust action relates to price hike of various generic drugs. It denied such accusation at appropriate Forum and is vigorously defending against the matter. As per a PTI report, Glenmark said in December 2016 a similar law suit was filed and the latest one includes some of the parties from first one as well as additional parties with allegations of fixing prices of additional products which were not referenced in the first law suit. —FE