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CEO DATELINE – Generic drug association shoots back at news report alleging price fixing

May 15, 2019
By Walt Williams

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The Association for Accessible Medicines is pointing to data supporting its position that generic drug prices are decreasing after the CBS News show 60 Minutes ran a segment about an alleged price-fixing scheme between many of the nation’s top pharmaceutical companies.

60 Minutes reported Sunday on a new lawsuit brought by 40 states accusing generic drug makers of participating in a massive conspiracy to fix generic drug prices and “bilk consumers out of billions of dollars.” The effort is being led by Connecticut, where the state attorney’s general office has reportedly been investigating the issue for five years.

“We’re talking about the drugs that America takes every day to live, and they’re profiteering off of that in a highly illegal way,” Connecticut Attorney General William Tong told 60 Minutes. “They’re just taking advantage.”

In a response to the news segment, AAM said the generic drug industry is characterized by intense competition. The result is over the last three years, generic drug prices have decreased and saved taxpayers billions of dollars compared to brand-name drugs, according to the association.

“AAM is fully committed to compliance with all laws and to maintaining high ethical standards in the way we do business,” the association said in a statement. “Illegal behavior, such as price-fixing or other violations of antitrust law, is inconsistent with AAM’s rules and procedures.”

The association added that generic medications account for 90 percent of drug sales but only 22 percent of all drug spending. “Generic drug savings provide the health care system with the ability to invest in new medications.”