The Justice Department has announced a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) and a $24.1 million criminal penalty against Apotex, Inc., a Florida-based generic pharmaceutical manufacturer. Apotex admitted guilt in the one-count felony charge for conspiracy to fix and raise the price of the widely-used cholesterol prescription, pravastatin from approximately May 2013 through December 2015. Apotex also agreed to assist the DOJ in its ongoing investigation into the suspected antitrust conspiracy, which has so far resulted in three DPAs against other corporate entities and three guilty pleas from their corporate executives; the fourth is awaiting trial.
This is one of the latest developments in an ongoing investigation of more than 20 of the nation’s generic drug manufacturers. The industry raised suspicions when observers saw an anomalous and staggering rise in generic drug prices at essentially the same time. Prices doubled, tripled, and in some cases skyrocketed by nearly 1000%, triggering great concern for purchasers and opening the industry up to inquiry. In addition to the DOJ’s criminal prosecution, nearly half of the country’s attorneys general and various private individuals and entities are pursuing the case via class and direct actions.