An ongoing probe by numerous states widened with a new lawsuit accusing more than two dozen drug makers and several individuals of a widespread conspiracy to fix prices on generic medicines.
The latest lawsuit — the third filed by state attorneys general since late 2016 — accuses the companies of routinely coordinating efforts to fix prices on 80 different creams, gels, lotions, ointments, shampoos, and solutions that are used to treat a pain, allergies, and a variety of skin conditions. The products include hydrocortisone valerate cream, lidocaine ointment, and acetazolamide tablets.
The 606-page lawsuit, which was filed by all 50 states, described how the companies agreed to divide a market, rather than compete by lowering prices. The drug makers also allegedly struck long-standing deals to ensure a “fair share” of the market for each company and prevent “price erosion” due to competition. In some instances, prices rose more than 2,000%.