Ohio and Minnesota Join Lawsuit Against ‘Corporate Drug Cartel’

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Attorneys General from 44 different states announced their participation Monday in a lawsuit against 20 of the nation’s leading generic drug manufactures. Both Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison have joined the lawsuit, highlighting the bipartisan nature of the issue.

“Ohioans who need medicine might think generic drugs would be their cheapest option, but some manufacturers have rigged the system to avoid competition,” Yost said Monday. “That’s not how a free market works, and the conspiracy to avoid competition makes prices higher – and it’s against the law. This lawsuit is the prescription for lower medicine prices in a free market.”

The lawsuit, led by the state of Connecticut, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut and explicitly names 15 defendants who are senior level executives responsible for sales and marketing. The lawsuit alleges that they “engaged in a broad, coordinated and systematic campaign to conspire with each other to fix prices, allocate markets and rig bids for more than 100 different generic drugs.”

The complaint also details an “interconnected web” of top executives who frequently met with each other and communicated via text messages to sow “the seeds for their illegal agreements.” These communications showed the defendants using terms like “fair share,” “playing nice in the sandbox,” and “responsible competitor” to describe how they “unlawfully discouraged competition, raised prices and enforced an ingrained culture of collusion.”

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison called it “illegal behavior rooted in greed” during a Monday press conference.

“There’s a good reason that this kind of anti-competitive, anti-trust conspiracy has been illegal for more than a century,” he said. “Holding these manufacturers accountable is exactly the kind of thing the Attorney General can do to help Minnesotans afford their lives and live with dignity.”

Ellison was joined by State Rep. Rod Hamilton (R-Worthington) who lives with multiple sclerosis.

“When you have the greedy corporate drug cartel building a business model that is stealing from the sick, the dying, and the disabled, that is quite frankly maddening,” Hamilton said.

The full lawsuit can be read here.

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to anthony.gockowski@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

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