After 44 state attorneys general filed a lawsuit accusing some of America’s largest generic drug manufacturers of a sprawling “multi-year conspiracy” to hike prices on life-saving medicines—in some cases by over 1,000 percent—Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Elijah Cummings on Thursday demanded that the Justice Department launch an investigation into the companies’ price-fixing scheme and their alleged efforts to obstruct congressional probes.
“It is sick and disgraceful that generic pharmaceutical executives, who should be making medicines affordable for the American people, were instead busy coordinating a cover-up scheme to hide the truth about their price-fixing conspiracy when we asked about their skyrocketing prices,” Sanders said, referring to letters he and Cummings sent in 2014 to inquire about soaring drug costs.
“The Department of Justice must hold these bad actors accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
—Sen. Bernie Sanders
The companies’ responses to these inquiries, Sanders said Thursday, amounted to “‘polite f-u’ letters designed to obstruct our investigation” and “were clearly illegal.”
“The Department of Justice must hold these bad actors accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” Sanders said.
In their letter (pdf) on Thursday, Sanders and Cummings called on the DOJ to “prioritize criminal enforcement of federal anti-trust laws against generic drug manufacturers.”
If the allegations made in the lawsuit by state attorneys general are true, Sanders and Cummings wrote, “civil enforcement will not be sufficient to protect consumers or businesses that compete fairly.”
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