Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Pfizer is one of 20 major drug manufacturers accused of conspiring to hike drug prices. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Lawsuit by 44 States Accuses Pharma Giants of 'Multi-Year Conspiracy' to Hike Drug Prices by Over 1,000%

"We have hard evidence that shows the generic drug industry perpetrated a multi-billion dollar fraud on the American people."

Jake Johnson

A far-reaching lawsuit filed Friday by the attorneys general of more than 40 states accused some of the nation's largest generic drug manufacturers of conspiring to inflate prices, in some cases by over 1,000 percent.

"We have hard evidence that shows the generic drug industry perpetrated a multi-billion dollar fraud on the American people," Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, whose state led the probe into the companies' practices, said in a statement.

"Teva and its co-conspirators embarked on one of the most egregious and damaging price-fixing conspiracies in the history of the United States." —Lawsuit

"We have emails, text messages, telephone records, and former company insiders that we believe will prove a multi-year conspiracy to fix prices and divide market share for huge numbers of generic drugs," said Tong.

The suit names 20 major drug manufacturers—including Pfizer, Teva, Novartis, and Mylan—as well as more than a dozen senior executives, who the complaint accuses of deleting evidence after the states began their investigation in 2014.

"The industrywide scheme affected the prices of more than 100 generic drugs," the New York Times reported Saturday, "including lamivudine-zidovudine, which treats H.I.V.; budesonide, an asthma medication; fenofibrate, which treats high cholesterol; amphetamine-dextroamphetamine for ADHD.; oral antibiotics; blood thinners; cancer drugs; contraceptives; and antidepressants."

Americans pay far more for prescription drugs than the people of any other industrialized nation. Alluding to this fact, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser—who joined the multi-state lawsuit—tweeted on Saturday: "If you are angry about rising drug prices, you should be. Particularly because a major cause of price increases is illegal collusion by generic drug companies."

As the Washington Post reported, the 465-page lawsuit accuses drug company executives of "coordinating consistently to obstruct" government investigations into drug prices, including after Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) launched a probe into generic drug pricing in 2014.

"Apparently unsatisfied with the status quo of 'fair share' and the mere avoidance of price erosion, Teva and its co-conspirators embarked on one of the most egregious and damaging price-fixing conspiracies in the history of the United States," states the complaint.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Judge's Ruling Puts New York Gun Control Efforts on Path Back to Supreme Court

"Judges award themselves maximal protection against guns and then tell parents around the country that they have no power to keep guns out of daycare," said one critic.

Julia Conley ·


'Next Up? Legalize It': Advocates Cheer Biden Move to Pardon Marijuana Convictions

"This is what pressure and advocacy look like," said anti-poverty activist Joe Sanberg. "This must be the first of many steps to ending our decadeslong failed policies on marijuana."

Brett Wilkins ·


At Least 66 Clinics in 15 States Have Ended Abortion Care Post-Dobbs

Over a third of those facilities have fully closed, meaning patients also lost "access to contraceptive care, STI testing and treatment, and pregnancy care," said a Guttmacher Institute researcher.

Jessica Corbett ·


Fury Over Privatized Grid Grows as Tens of Thousands Still Without Power in Puerto Rico

Until the U.S. island's colonial status "is rectified," wrote one observer, "it's a safe bet that Puerto Rico will never fully recover."

Kenny Stancil ·


US Jobless Claims Jump as Fed Shoves Economy to 'Precipice of Global Recession'

One expert called on Powell "to think twice before plunging our economy into a wholly avoidable recession and completely undoing one of the strongest job recoveries on record."

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo