Attorneys general from 45 U.S. states Oct. 31 targeted an Indian billionaire and the president of generic drug giant Mylan, the latest twist in a three-year civil investigation of price-fixing in the generic pharmaceuticals industry, Forbes reported.
Satish Mehta, chief executive of Emcure Pharmaceuticals, and Mylan president Rajiv Malik are being sought in a roughly year-old lawsuit alleging the companies restricted competition and raised the prices of 15 generic drugs, according to the report.
Mehta and Malik are the first executives at major companies to be targeted by the civil drug-pricing probe, Forbes noted.
According to the states AGs, Mehta “took active steps to facilitate an illegal conspiracy” by personally reaching out to Malik at Mylan to push forward discussions that involved fixing prices for antibiotic doxycycline hyclate delayed release, it said.
The states' price fixing litigation is being pursued in federal court in Philadelphia and led by Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen.
Jepsen claims that 18 drug manufacturers conspired to fix prices and allocate customers as part of an "overarching industry code of conduct" that divided the market for certain generic drugs through agreements that determined market share, the report said.
The Connecticut attorney general said at the time of the initial lawsuit that “it was just the tip of the iceberg.”
He said Oct. 31 that it is “so pervasive that it essentially eliminated competition from the market” for 15 generic drugs, the Associated Press reported.
The drug companies are fighting the allegations.
“We have been investigating these allegations thoroughly and have found no evidence of price fixing on the part of Mylan or its employees,” Mylan said in an Oct. 31 statement. "Mylan has deep faith in the integrity of its president, Rajiv Malik, and stands behind him fully.”
The expanding civil price-fixing probe has been going on at the same time as a federal criminal investigation, which resulted in the convictions earlier this year of former Heritage Pharmaceuticals CEO Jeffrey Glazer and former Heritage president Jason Malek, Forbes reported.
In addition to Mylan and Heritage, the states initially sued Teva Pharmaceuticals, Citron Pharma, Mayne Pharma and Aurobindo Pharmaceuticals. Now, the states are also targeting companies like Lannett, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries and units of Endo International and Novartis, Forbes said.