Humana Alleges Price Fixing in Lawsuit Against Generic Drug Makers

On Friday, Humana filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, alleging that 37 defendants engaged in a “far-reaching conspiracy” to “blatantly fix the price” of generic drugs.
Kelly Davio
October 21, 2019
On Friday, Humana filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, alleging that 37 defendants engaged in a “far-reaching conspiracy” to “blatantly fix the price” of generic drugs.

In the 610-page complaint, Humana says that it is seeking to recover damages incurred from paying overcharges for commonly used generics. Humana alleges that the defendants, including Actavis, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Glenmark, Mylan, Sandoz, Sun, Teva, and others, used secret communications at public and private events—including major trade association meetings—to orchestrate a scheme in which they fixed prices and rigged bids on drugs.

The complaint contains exhibits listing the names of generic companies’ employees who attended the same professional meetings between 2011 and 2016 to support these claims, and the document also contains numerous, partially redacted LinkedIn messages, emails, conference call agendas, and phone records documenting contact between the companies’ employees.

The complaint alleges that the scheme, which divided the market into shares, was known among the defendants as the “rules of engagement,” and resulted in some generic drug prices rising by more than 1000%. The drugs at the heart of the lawsuit include antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, diabetes treatments, asthma drugs, anticoagulants, cardiovascular drugs, and many others. Some of the drugs listed in the suit, including the sickle cell drug hydroxyurea, and the immunosuppressive drug methotrexate, are World Health Organization-listed essential medicines.

Much of the complaint focuses on Teva, and on the alleged conduct of the company’s director of global generic sourcing, Nisha Patel, who, Humana says, was responsible for identifying on which drugs the company could increase prices. The complaint says that Patel regularly communicated with competitors regarding their willingness to increase prices.

Humana also alleges that many of the defendants have been coordinating to obstruct ongoing investigations into their conduct.

Humana is asking the court for a judgement against the defendants for damages sustained, and for an award punitive damages in an amount to be determined in a trial.

The new lawsuit follows after Humana filed a largely similar, yet less extensive, suit in the same district in 2018.
 

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