Novartis’ generic drugs subsidiary Sandoz has agreed to pay $195 million to reach a deferred prosecution agreement geared toward resolving antitrust costs, the Justice Division stated Monday.
The group was charged with rigging offers and fixing prices of over $500 million value of generic medicines between 2013-2015, stated the division, which has been investigating the generic drug sector for three years now.
“Sandoz conspired for years with other producers and their executives to raise costs for critical medicines, and the Antitrust Department will proceed with its ongoing inquiry to hold individuals as well as companies accountable,” stated Makan Delrahim, head of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.
U.S. drug pricing has turned into a political issue in recent times amid complaints that some medicines, along with medication on the market for decades, have seen an acute price increase.
Three executives, along with one from Sandoz, have pleaded guilty to being part of the scheme, and a fourth is waiting for trial. Two other firms – Kavod Pharmaceuticals and Heritage Pharmaceuticals – have been charged and settled in 2019,
The medication involved in the program were clobetasol and desonide, steroids used to treat skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, nystatin triamcinolone, a mix antifungal and steroid; the high blood pressure combination medicine benazepril HCTZ used to treat people with cystic fibrosis who have a bacterial infection.