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Here’s one reason why prescription drug prices are so high: the fix is in!

Some say it might be the biggest price-fixing scheme in U.S. business history. More than 40 states filed a 500-page lawsuit accusing generic drug makers of a massive, systematic conspiracy to bilk consumers out of billions of dollars. For example, text messages implicate at least three companies: Heritage, Aurobindo and Teva, the world’s largest generic drug maker. The national accounts manager at Heritage wrote:

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A.S.: “We are raising the price right now — just letting you know, Teva says they will follow”

A.S.: “Aurobindo agrees too”

A corporate account representative from Citron answered:

KA: “…we are def [initely] in to raise pricing … are doing this immediately”

The Heritage executive responded:

AS: “We are raising our customers 200% over current market price.”

Congress established the current generic industry in 1984 to push prices down. The idea was that once patents on brand name drugs expired, generic makers would compete to make drugs more affordable. But 1,215 generics, many of them the most prescribed drugs, jumped on average more than 400 percent in a single year.

Connecticut has been examining the generic drug industry for almost five years. Last night, 60 minutes gave us a peek inside the investigation. Two relentless attorneys built the cases the state attorney general calls the most egregious examples of corporate greed he has ever seen.

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Tyrone Squires, MBA, CPBS

I am the proud founder and managing director of TransparentRx, a fiduciary-model PBM based in Las Vegas, Nevada. We help health plan sponsors reduce pharmacy spend, by as much as 50%, without cutting benefits or shifting costs to employees.

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