- The U.S. Department of Justice is cracking down on generic drug pricing in a sweeping criminal investigation into suspected price collusion, according to reports from Bloomberg.
- Federal prosecutors began the antitrust investigation about two years ago; it now targets more than a dozen pharmaceutical firms and about two dozen drugs including Digoxin, a heart failure drug, and doxycycline, a popular antibiotic. The looming legal action also could affect individual executives, said the report.
- The first charges could occur by the end of December from a grand jury probe into whether some industry executives colluded to boost prices, Bloomberg said, adding that a DOJ spokesman declined comment on the matter.
The DOJ's investigation is bringing generics – which account for nearly nine of every 10 prescriptions in the U.S. – into a public battle that's been raging in recent months over rapidly escalating prices on various branded drugs, including EpiPen.
Overall, fines could top $1 billion for generic-drug makers, Bernstein analyst Ronny Gal said. Other analysts said the situation could result in a more heavily regulated and scrutinized generic-drug industry, though they don't expect all the companies to be indicted.
According to Bloomberg, the drug manufacturers getting subpoenaed include: Mylan NV; Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Teva's Actavis; Lannett Co.; Impax Laboratories Inc.; Covis Pharma Holdings Sarl; Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.; Mayne Pharma Group Ltd.; Endo International Plc’s subsidiary Par Pharmaceutical Holdings, and Taro Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.
Shares of those companies fell as reports of the DOJ's investigation first surfaced Nov. 3, though some stocks have since started to rebound. All but one of the firms have stated they're cooperating with DOJ.
Separately, a group of state attorneys general, led by Connecticut A.G.George Jepsen, are conducting a civil investigation of generic-drug companies for price-fixing.