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Kroger Fights Price-Fixing Suit Claiming Overarching Conspiracy

 |  March 17, 2022

Generic drug makers were already staring down price-fixing probes and government allegations of collusion. Now, Kroger and other grocery chains are getting involved, suing Mylan, Teva, Endo and many other companies for an “overarching conspiracy” to artificially inflate prices on certain drugs.

The plaintiffs, which all have pharmacy operations, allege in a 241-page lawsuit (PDF) filed last week that the drug companies met at industry meetings, communicated digitally and more to reach collusive agreements, raise prices and divide up the market to help one another.

Many of the companies cited have had recent encounters with antitrust suits, with various outcomes. The drugmakers are involved in the production of life-saving medications including treatments for cancer, allergies, and diabetes, among other illnesses.

The suit cites pricing on 30 drugs but said others could be added after discovery. In pointing to large price hikes on certain products by multiple companies—at around the same time—the grocers say the pricing dynamics are “so unusual and extraordinary as to demonstrate the existence of a conspiracy.”

Teva declined to comment on the lawsuit and Endo said it doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

“That said, Endo is committed to providing top-quality products that improve patients’ lives, and in doing so, we take our legal obligations—including those relating to product pricing—very seriously,” an Endo spokesperson added. “As such, we plan to vigorously defend the company against these claims.”

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