Attorney General Andy Beshear announced two lawsuits on Monday, regarding 23 drug manufacturers who he says skyrocketed the prices of more than 100 prescription drugs, including drugs to treat diabetes, epilepsy and cancer.
In Franklin Circuit Court, Beshear filed suit against three insulin manufacturers, Eli Lilly, Sanofi-Aventis and Novo Nordisk, for driving up insulin prices. Attorney General Beshear also joined 43 attorneys general in a federal lawsuit targeting Teva Pharmaceuticals, plus 19 other drug manufacturers, and 15 senior executives for inflating generic drug prices.
In both cases, Beshear is demanding the companies “correct their exploitative conduct, discharge their ill-gotten gains and pay civil penalties to the state.”
Beshear alleges that Kentuckians without insurance or on high-deductible health plans, Medicare Part D recipients and those who pay coinsurance are hurt most, as they are forced to pay the full amount or a percentage of the list price of the drug.
Beshear is seeking restitution and civil penalties under the state’s Consumer Protection Act.
The second lawsuit Beshear announced Monday is a multistate complaint against 20 generic drug makers, including Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., Sandoz Inc., Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Pfizer Inc., for engaging in an alleged wide-spread scheme to inflate and fix the price of more than 100 generic drugs.
It is alleged that from July 2013 to January 2015, the price-inflating conspiracy was made possible by employees of the drug companies routinely meeting at industry trade shows, golf outings, cocktail parties, dinners and customer events and communicating via phone, email and text message.
Beshear says as a result, some drug price increases were over 1,000%, and staggering profits were realized by the companies at a significant cost to the state’s health insurance market, taxpayer-funded programs like Medicaid and Medicare and Kentuckians who paid too much for drugs. A calculation by Teva’s marketing director estimated a “net upside” of the drug price increases of nearly $1 billion per quarter.
Beshear alleges the drug manufacturers violated the state Consumer Protection Act and federal anti-trust laws.