MYLAN: Will Pay $135M to Settle with FTC, States
In the largest antitrust settlement in FTC history, Mylan Laboratories, Inc., the world's second-largest drugmaker, agreed yesterday to pay $135 million to settle lawsuits with the FTC, 32 states and the District of Columbia, alleging that the company "conspired to corner the market for generic antianxiety drugs and jacked up prices more than 2,500%." According to the lawsuits, Pittsburgh-based Mylan negotiated exclusive deals with three suppliers of key chemicals in the anxiety-preventing drugs clorazepate and lorazepam, cutting off the ingredients' availability to competitors and allowing the company to raise prices. The wholesale cost of 500 clorazepate tablets jumped from $11.36 to $377, while the price of lorazepam rose from $7.30 to $190 a bottle (Grimaldi, Washington Post, 7/13). "This illegal conduct has cost consumers millions of dollars over the last two years," Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery (R) said, adding, "What makes this behavior even more unconscionable is that these drugs ... are anti-anxiety medications frequently prescribed for nursing home and hospice patients" (Chen, Bloomberg News/Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/13). Under the terms of the settlement, Mylan must end its exclusive deals and pay $100 million to the states and $35 million to private parties. The company also must cover $12 million in attorneys' fees. Mylan admitted no wrongdoing in the agreement, and the company says the charges are "absolutely untrue." The FTC, the states and the judge must approve the deal (Washington Post, 7/13).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.