Novartis’s generics unit, Sandoz, pleaded guilty to price fixing charges brought in a U.S. Justice Department investigation into the generic drug industry. Sandoz has agreed to pay $195 million, the largest settlement ever paid out in a domestic antitrust case.
As part of the settlement, Sandoz admitted that, from mid-2013 through mid-2015, it conspired with competitors to artificially inflate prices on critical drugs. This admission makes Sandoz the third and largest pharmaceutical company to plead guilty in this federal probe, which began in 2014.
“Today’s resolution, with one of the largest manufacturers of generic drugs, is a significant step toward ensuring that prices for generic drugs are set by competition, not collusion, and rooting out antitrust crimes that cheated American purchasers of vital medicines,” Justice Department antitrust attorney Makan Delrahim said in a statement.
“We take seriously our compliance with antitrust laws, and in reaching today’s resolution, we are not only resolving historical issues, but also underscoring our commitment to continually improving our compliance and training programs and evolving our controls,” Sandoz President Carol Lynch said in a statement. “We are disappointed that this misconduct occurred in the face of our clear antitrust compliance policies and multiple trainings – and in full contravention of the company’s values.”