A Florida-based generic pharmaceutical firm agreed last week to pay the Federal government $24.1 million in criminal penalties after admitting to its involvement in a conspiracy to artificially raise the price of a common cholesterol medication.
According to Federal investigators, the firm was part of a conspiracy that began in the spring of 2015 and involved several other competing drug makers. The defendants allegedly communicated with these competing firms regarding price increases they intended to carry out on the price of pravastatin, which is marketed under the brand name Pravachol.
Investigators say the conspirators also had an agreement among themselves to not submit competing bids for the drug, which is currently prescribed to over 24 million Americans. The illicit agreement allegedly ended at the close of 2015.
As part of the agreement the defendant committed to offering its full cooperation with the ongoing investigation. Additionally, the Department of Justice Antitrust Division and the defendant have entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) which, upon ratification by the court, would delay prosecution of the alleged offenses during the term of the agreement.
The company is the fourth firm to face charges stemming from the alleged illicit agreement. The three other corporate defendants charged to date have also entered into DPA agreements, while four individuals faced charges relating to the agreement. Of those four charged individuals, three have pled guilty while a fourth awaits trial.
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