Apotex admits to generic price fixing, agrees to pay $24M criminal fine

Even amid a pandemic, the Department of Justice isn’t giving up on its years-long generics price-fixing probe. Following several other guilty pleas and company settlements, federal authorities have inked a deal with Apotex. 

Under the deal, Apotex will pay a $24.1 million criminal penalty, admit to price-fixing and enter a deferred prosecution agreement.

The deal follows three other such agreements with generics companies and three guilty pleas by generic industry executives as an industrywide probe rolls forward, the Department of Justice said. Another industry exec who faces charges is now awaiting trial.

The DOJ’s case against Apotex centers on pricing for pravastatin, a generic cholesterol medication, between May 2013 and December 2015. Apotex admitted to working with other generic companies to artificially inflate the drug's price, authorities say. 

In a statement, Apotex’s U.S. general counsel Roberta Loomar said the “activity, occurring several years ago, was clearly against our established compliance policies, training and culture.” Under the deferred prosecution agreement, the company pledged to bolster its compliance program and training. 

RELATED: Teva starred in price-fixing scheme, but 19 other companies 'willingly' joined, attorneys general claim 

Going forward, Apotex also agreed to “cooperate fully” with the DOJ’s ongoing probe, which has roped in some of the top names in the generics industry. Dozens of state attorneys general are also investigating. Last year, they sued Teva and 19 other generics makers for price-fixing. 

So far in its investigation, the DOJ has secured guilty pleas from two former executives of Heritage Pharmaceuticals, plus a former Novartis exec.

The agency has also inked agreements with Heritage Pharmaceuticals and Rising Pharmaceuticals featuring fines of $7 million and $3 million, respectively. Novartis' Sandoz in March agreed to pay $195 million in its agreement.