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Yale: Hosts Connecticut Attorney General for Talk on Generic Drug Market

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong gave faculty and students a rare glimpse into the highly profitable prescription drug market when he shared his findings of a multi-year investigation into the generic drug industry during a presentation at the Yale School of Public Health.

As part of a Dean’s Lecture and the Yale School of Medicine’s Health and Policy Management Seminar on November 1, Attorney General Tong described an elaborate network of alleged price-fixing and market share collusion between some of the nation’s leading generic drug manufactures. The allegations form the basis of two national antitrust lawsuits filed by his office and supported by a coalition of attorneys general in 49 states.

Connecticut began investigating generic drug pricing in 2014 after prices soared for common generic medications, in some cases by as much as 1,000 percent. Investigators gathered almost 19 million internal documents from major generic drug companies in response to multiple subpoenas, including detailed phone records, emails and text messages.

The contents were shocking, Mr. Tong said. Calls between executives of different generic drug companies appeared to spike on days drug prices were raised or in the days leading up to a major price increase. Even more remarkably, he said, investigators found a detailed spreadsheet created by one employee that appeared to contain information related to price-fixing and dividing up market shares. It was the proverbial smoking gun.

“What we discovered is that the generic drug industry, without exaggeration, is the largest corporate cartel in history,” he said.

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