MUMBAI: Glenmark Pharma, charged by US Department of Justice (DoJ) for conspiring to fix prices of generic drugs in US, said on Thursday it will defend its position in the price-fixing case.
The charge filed on June 30 in US District Court in Pennsylvania, alleges that Glenmark conspired with other generic drug companies, and Apotex Corp, to increase and maintain prices of pravastatin and other generic drugs over a period of May 2013-December 2015.
Glenmark is the fifth company to be charged over the last 13 months in connection with antitrust violations in an ongoing case in US. Pravastatin is a prescription medication that reduces cholesterol, helping to prevent heart attacks and strokes.
The offense charged carries a statutory maximum penalty of $100 million, which may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime, or twice the loss suffered by victims if either amount is greater than $100 million, a DoJ statement says.
“We strongly disagree with the charges being advanced by the Federal Government and do not believe the evidence supports the government’s case. These charges run contrary to the very essence of Glenmark – to drive down drug prices and improve patient access to medications. We will continue to vigorously defend against these charges, and we are confident the overwhelming evidence will make that clear,” a Glenmark spokesperson said.
This charge is the result of an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into market allocation, price fixing, bid rigging, and other anticompetitive conduct in the generic pharmaceutical industry.
The previous charges, including the charge against Glenmark’s co-conspirator Apotex, were resolved by deferred prosecution agreement. Four senior executives have also been charged, while three entered guilty pleas and the fourth is awaiting trial.
“By cheating through fixing prices, generic drug companies artificially raised prices even though prescription drug costs were already sky high,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. “As today’s charge shows, the Antitrust Division will not hesitate to charge these companies, and litigate where necessary, particularly where their crimes resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in overcharges for life-saving medications.”