Rising Pharmaceuticals, Inc. agreed to pay just over $3 million in criminal penalty, restitution, and civil damages for conspiring to fix prices and allocate customers for a generic hypertension drug, Department of Justice said in a statement.
The charge was filed on Tuesday in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia against the New Jersey-based generic drug maker.
Rising indulged in a criminal antitrust conspiracy with a competing generic drug manufacturer and its executives to fix prices and allocate customers for hypertension drug Benazepril HCTZ between about April 2014 and September 2015.
Rising and its co-conspirators were accused of exploiting patients that rely on Benazepril HCTZ as a low-cost alternative to brand-name medications to treat high blood pressure. Patients bought Benazepril HCTZ at artificially inflated prices.
Rising admitted that it conspired to fix prices and allocate customers for Benazepril HCTZ.
The generics industry is currently under antitrust investigations and the companies and executives are being aggressively pursued who foster behavior related to price fixing, bid rigging and market allocation in order to ensure an open process by which generic pharmaceuticals can be competitively priced and sold.
This is the fourth charge in the Antitrust Division’s ongoing criminal investigations. Previously, two executives were charged and pleaded guilty, and a corporation, Heritage Pharmaceuticals Inc., was charged and entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Antitrust Division.