Tom Miller (file photo)

Iowa is joining 19 other states in a lawsuit against the 6 largest generic drug makers. State Attorney General Tom Miller says they are alleging two illegal actions by the companies.

“One is sort of a failure to compete, to use the time period and the mechanisms when a drug leaves its patent and gets into the generic category. And secondly, to allege that they manipulated and fixed prices of generic drugs.” He says there are two specific drugs involved.

“One is an antibiotic and the other is an oral diabetics medication,” Miller explains. “So two pretty important and well-used drugs that we are alleging antitrust activity on behalf of the six generic drug companies.” The antibiotic is doxycycline hyclate, the oral diabetes medication is glyburide. Generic drugs currently account for approximately 88 percent of all prescriptions written in the United States, so Miller says many Iowans could have been impacted

“We don’t know how many Iowans have been affected, but we think it is significant. Generally as a rule — we assume that Iowans use about one percent of whatever the consumer product is — because we are one percent of the population,” according to Miller. The states are seeking two things in the federal lawsuit.

“An injunction that would prohibit any of this antitrust activity in the future, and then we would want damages for the sales that have taken place,” Miller says. Miller says it is a complicated legal case that could take awhile, although there’s a good possibility they could reach a settlement.

“In antitrust cases — like most civil cases — they are settled. Some are tried, but the majority of the cases are settled,”Miller says. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. The lawsuit is against the following companies: Heritage Pharmaceuticals Inc., Auribindo Pharma U.S.A. Inc., Citron Pharma LLC, Mayne Pharma (USA) Inc., Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Teva Pharmaceuticals U.S.A. Inc.