Sun Pharma, Mylan face price fixing charges in US

Topics Sun Pharma

A New York grocery workers' union filed a class action suit in a Pennsylvania federal court last week against Sun Pharamceutical Industries in the US for colluding with Mylan for conspiring to raise the price of generic asthma medicine (albuterol sulfate tablets). The same union also filed another suit for similar charges against Mylan and Sandoz for colluding to boost the cost of another generic asthma medicine (Benazepril HCTZ).

The complaint stated that Sun Pharmaceuticals and Mylan had raised their prices for albuterol sulfate over 3,000 per cent between October 2013 and April 2014. Business Standard has reviewed a copy of the complaint. Sun Pharma did not respond to email query sent to the company.

"Beginning in May 2013, defendants caused the price of albuterol sulfate to dramatically increase in unison," said the complaint. "The increases were the result of an agreement among defendants to increase pricing and restrain competition for the sale of albuterol sulfate in the United States," it said. The complaint detailed the meetings including meetings in Bethesda, Maryland in October 2012 and June 2013 that were attended by defendants.

The move also comes close to forty states in the US coming together to bring antitrust claims against six drug makers about three weeks back. This includes the US unit of India's Aurobindo Pharma along with global players Heritage, Mylan, Teva, Citron Pharma and Mayne Pharma.

The antitrust claims, first brought by 20 states in December, alleged that the pharmaceutical companies illegally conspired to divvy up the market for doxycycline hyclate (antibiotic used to treat respiratory infections), and glyburide (an oral diabetes medication) so that prices soar.

The action, led by Connecticut, stems from an investigation that state began in July 2014 into suspicious price increases of generic drugs throughout the industry. On 1 March 20 more states joined to the claims. Aurobindo Pharma did not respond to email query sent.

The antitrust claims against Indian companies have been rising in the US as late last year the US Department of Justice (DOJ) began anti-trust probe against a dozen companies including Indian drug makers Dr Reddy's, Sun Pharma, its US subsidiary Taro. The prices for price collusion against these companies related to about two dozen drugs.

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