Philadelphia judge grants states' motion for separate track in antitrust case over drug-pricing

By Amanda Thomas | Jun 20, 2018

By Jeffrey M. Vinocur [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], from Wikimedia Commons

PHILADELPHIA - A federal judge has granted a motion made by the attorneys general for 44 states, including Pennsylvania, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico for a separate government track in a multidistrict antitrust case involving the pricing of generic pharmaceuticals. 

In a June 5 ruling, U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania also granted the state plaintiffs’ motion to allow them to file a consolidated amended complaint (CAC). 

According to the order, the “proposed CAC asserts claims for violation of federal antitrust laws.” The plaintiffs alleged that drug makers, manufacturers and suppliers “have conspired to artificially inflate and maintain prices and reduce competition for 15 generic drugs.”

The complaint names Heritage Pharmaceuticals as a key player.


Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro  

“But all defendants have communicated with others in various configurations to determine how to divide market share and allocate customers for the drugs in questions,” the complaint said. 

In August 2016, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation granted a motion transferring a civil action to district court for “coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings” with nine other pending cases. The multidistrict litigation (MDL) was designated as “Generic Digoxin and Doxycycline Antitrust Litigation.” The MDL included counts alleging that generic pharmaceutical manufacturers conspired to fix the prices of the two named products. 

The defendants had argued that the creation of a track for state plaintiffs would result in chaos to the MD or result in unfair prejudice to the drug manufacturers. 

“The purpose of the electronic case management orders is to facilitate the efficient management of MDL, not dictate the course of the litigation,” Rufe said in her ruling. “The court does not accept defendants' arguments.” 

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