Tuesday, February 9, 1999
AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn yesterday filed a civil lawsuit against drug manufacturer, Mylan Laboratories, Inc., and drug suppliers Cambrex, Profarmaco, Gyma Laboratories, and SST Corporation with antitrust violations resulting in skyrocketing prices for two popular generic drugs.
Texas, along with seventeen other states filed the complaint in federal district court in Washington, D.C. The complaint was filed in conjunction with a complaint previously filed by the Federal Trade Commission and other states. Texas plans to seek civil penalties and injunctive relief.
The complaint alleges that Mylan and the other defendants conspired to monopolize the market for the generic drugs Lorazepam and Clorazepate. Lorazepam is used to treat anxiety, tension, agitation, and insomnia. Lorazepam is commonly prescribed in nursing homes and hospices. Moreover, Lorazepam is one of the only drugs in its class compatible with a particular protease inhibitor that is a part of the AIDS cocktail. Clorazepate is used to treat anxiety, hypertension, and used as an adjunct therapy for nicotine and opiate withdrawal. Approximately 18 million prescriptions for Lorazepam and three million prescriptions for Clorazepate are prescribed a year.
According to the lawsuit, Mylan orchestrated or attempted to orchestrate among the defendants exclusive agreements for long-term contracts to supply Mylan with the active ingredient for Lorazepam and Clorazepate in exchange for a share of Mylan's profits from the sales of these generic drugs. These exclusive agreements would have allowed Mylan to corner the market for the sale of the drugs and allegedly drove the prices up by as much as 3,200 percent. For example, Mylan raised prices on Lorazepam from approximately $7.30 per bottle to $191.50 per bottle. In another instance, Mylan raised prices on Clorazepate from $11.36 to $377.00 per bottle.
This investigation is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Kelly Garcia and Investigator Maybeth Lee of the Attorney General's Antitrust Section in the Consumer Protection DivisionTEXT
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