Attorneys general from nearly all U.S. states, Washington, DC, and several territories filed a lawsuit this week, alleging more than two dozen drug companies and executives have been engaging in price-fixing for generic drugs.
The lawsuit, which was filed in Connecticut, named 26 companies and subsidiaries as well as 10 former or current executives as defendants. The lawsuit filed this week was the third since 2016 stemming from a wide-ranging investigation.
"We're taking on what we believe to be the largest corporate cartel in history, " Connecticut Attorney General William Tong told Cheddar.
"This is part of a huge multi-state effort, 51 states and territories taking on the generic drug industry for price-fixing, for illegally dividing market shares in violation of our state and federal antitrust laws," he said.
About 90 percent of all prescriptions filled in the United States are for generic drugs, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Generics are supposed to be the cheaper option because the industry is set up to encourage competition among manufacturers in order to drive prices down. Instead, prices have skyrocketed, sometimes by as much as 4,000 percent according to Tong, bringing in more than $100 billion a year for the industry.
The situation is "really scary, and frankly it touches almost every consumer," he said while adding, "Nobody is immune from this, and it's a huge fraud on the American people — in all corners of this industry they're stealing billions upon billions of dollars from all of us and our families."