As punishment for price-fixing, pharma giant Apotex pays $100 million settlement

On Friday, the pharmaceutical giant and Canadian company Apotex announced that it has paid a $100 million settlement in a complaint filed against it by the U.S. Department of Justice. The settlement is the largest price-fixing settlement in U.S. history and includes $90 million of disgorgement to customers and $15 million in fines. The Justice Department alleges that Apotex, along with other companies, including GlaxoSmithKline, along with pharmacies such as AmerisourceBergen, conspired to raise the price of a generic antibiotic, called Dilaudid, between 2010 and 2013.

Apotex has admitted no wrongdoing but has agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department as part of the settlement, which includes the company participating in a “formal compliance program aimed at eradicating the practice of anticompetitive behavior,” according to the department.

“In the medical industry, pharmaceutical prices and profits are at an all-time high, causing significant and often devastating price increases on the products that save and improve the lives of people across the country,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, head of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “Law enforcement is committed to protecting patients from these abuses, and we will continue to take action to ensure that patients do not pay more for the drugs they need.”

The department filed suit against Apotex and four other companies in August 2018 after they allegedly ignored a cease-and-desist order issued in 2010. The other companies included Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Cephalon, and Actavis. A judge in Florida had been expected to rule on the case in the coming months but court officials have since dismissed that case.

The DoJ filing marks the second time in recent years that Apotex — founded in the 1960s and has become a massive player in the pharmaceutical industry — has been under investigation for its pricing practices. In 2015, the company entered into a settlement in a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission, agreeing to a settlement that guaranteed it paid $195 million.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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