Federal enforcement alone has proved insufficient to stem the growth in online promotion of child sex trafficking. Those on the front lines of the battle against the sexual exploitation of children — state and local law enforcement — must have the clear authority to investigate and prosecute facilitators of these and other horrible crimes.
Attorneys General Urge Congress to Repeal Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016
The Act, which was signed into law on April 19, 2016, is a step backward in our collective effort to prevent the diversion and misuse of prescription drugs and address our worsening epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose deaths.
States and localities are on the front line of this crisis and are a large part of winning the battle from both a law enforcement and public health perspective.
Plaintiff states alleged that defendant, the producer of Lidoderm (pain medication), paid or incentivized generic drug makers to delay entry into market to protect its monopoly on Lidoderm. (“pay for delay”) The settlement agreement, which expires in twenty years, prohibits Teikoku from entering into agreements that restrict generic drug manufacturers from researching, manufacturing, marketing, or selling products for a period of time and requires Teikoku to cooperate in an ongoing investigation into similarly anticompetitive conduct by other drug manufacturers, among other things.
Plaintiff states alleged that the makers of Suboxone, a drug used to treat opioid addiction, engaged in a scheme to block generic competitors and raise prices. Specifically, they are conspiring to wtich Suboxone from a tablet version to a flim in order to prevent or delay generic entry. The states allege that the manufacturers engaged in “product hopping” in which a company makes slight changes to its product to extend patent protections and prvent generic alternatives. The complaint was filed under seal.
In the Matter of NFL Ticketing Investigation, Assurance No. 16-181(NY Attorney General Antitrust Bureau (Nov. 15, 2016)
Plaintiff states entered into a settlement agreement with the National Football League under which the NFL would discontinue its league-wide mandatory price floor (no tickets could be sold on the NFL secondary market platform for a price less than a season ticket holder’s price) and would not direct or require ticketing practices designed to preclude fans from using competing ticket exchanges.
Twenty states filed a federal lawsuit against six generic drug manufacturers, alleging that they entered into long-running and well coordinated illegal conspiracies in order to unreasonably restrain trade, artificially inflate and manipulate prices and reduce competition in the United States for two drugs: doxycycline hyclate delayed release, an antibiotic, and glyburide, an oral diabetes medication. The lawsuit was filed under seal to avoid compromising a continuing investigation. In the complaint, the states allege that the misconduct was conceived and carried out by senior drug company executives and their marketing and sales executives. The complaint further alleges that the defendants routinely coordinated their schemes through direct interaction with their competitors at industry trade shows, customer conferences and other events, as well as through direct email, phone and text message communications. The states further allege that the drug companies knew that their conduct was illegal and made efforts to avoid communicating with each other in writing or, in some instances, to delete written communications after becoming aware of the investigation. The states allege the anticompetitive conduct, including price-fixing and price maintenance, market allocation and other anticompetitive acts, caused significant, harmful and continuing effects in the country’s healthcare system. The states sought an injunction to prevent the companies from engaging in illegal, anticompetitive behavior and also sought equitable relief, including disgorgement. An additional 20 states joined the complaint in March 2017.
In May 2015, the FTC settled a “pay-for-delay” suit against Cephalon for injunctive relief and $1.2 billion, which was paid into an escrow account. The FTC settlement allowed for those escrow funds to be distributed for settlement of certain related cases and government investigations. In August 2016, forty-eight states filed suit in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Cephalon alleging anticompetitive conduct by Cephalon to protect the profits it earned from having a patent-protected monopoly on the sale of its landmark drug, Provigil. According to the complaint, Cephalon’s conduct delayed generic versions of Provigil from entering the market for several years. The complaint alleged that as patent and regulatory barriers that prevented generic competition to Provigil neared expiration, Cephalon intentionally defrauded the Patent and Trademark Office to secure an additional patent, which a court subsequently deemed invalid and unenforceable. Before it was declared invalid, Cephalon was able to use the patent to delay generic competition for nearly six additional years by filing patent infringement lawsuits. Cephalon settled those lawsuits by paying competitors to delay sale of their generic versions of Provigil until at least April 2012. Consumers, states, and others paid millions more for Provigil than they would have had generic versions of the drug launched by early 2006, as expected. A settlement was filed with the complaint, which includes $35 million for distribution to consumers who bought Provigil.
U.S. DOJ and plaintiff states sued to block the merger of two of the country’s largest health insurers. According to the complaint, alleges that their merger would substantially reduce Medicare Advantage competition in more than 350 counties in 21 states, affecting more than 1.5 million Medicare Advantage customers in those counties. Before seeking to acquire Humana, Aetna had pursued aggressive expansion in Medicare Advantage. Aetna, the nation’s fourth-largest Medicare Advantage insurer by membership, has nearly doubled its Medicare Advantage footprint over the past four years. Humana is the nation’s second-largest Medicare Advantage insurer by membership. The lawsuit also alleges that Aetna’s purchase of Humana would substantially reduce competition to sell commercial health insurance to individuals and families on the public exchanges in 17 counties in Florida, Georgia and Missouri, affecting more than 700,000 people in those counties. The lawsuit alleges that by buying Humana, Aetna would eliminate one of its strongest and most capable competitors in these markets. The district court granted the injunction, rejecting the parties arguments that the Medicare Advantage and Medicare programs were competing products that constrained one another’s prices, and noting that Aetna’s exit from several markets, allegedly because of the Affordable Care Act, appeared to be designed to eliminate a problem with the merger, rather than being an unrelated business decision.
Plaintiff states entered into settlement agreement with Natixis Funding Corp. for fraudulent and anticompetitive conduct in municipal bond derivative transactions with state and local government entities and nonprofits across the country. Natixis will pay $29,950,000 as part of a coordinated 22-state and private class settlement. The funds will mostly be applied to restitution for municipalities, counties, government agencies, school districts and nonprofits that the states allege were harmed when they entered into municipal derivatives contracts with Natixis. In 2008, the plaintiff states, in parallel with the U.S. Department of Justice and federal regulatory agencies, began their investigation of the municipal bond derivatives market. In these markets, tax exempt entities such as municipalities, school districts, and nonprofit organizations issue municipal bonds and reinvest the proceeds until the funds are needed or enter into contracts to hedge interest rate risk. These investigations revealed anticompetitive and fraudulent conduct involving individuals at a number of large financial institutions, including Natixis, and certain brokers with whom they had worked. Certain Natixis employees and their counterparts at other institutions rigged bids, submitted noncompetitive courtesy bids and fraudulent certificates of arms-length bidding to government agencies. The misconduct led local and state governments, as well as nonprofits, to enter into municipal derivatives contracts on less advantageous terms than they would have otherwise. Natixis agreed to pay $23.4 million into a settlement fund and $1.5 million to the attorneys general as an additional payment. Natixis also agreed not to submit non-competitive bids or refrain from bidding on, or coordinate the preparation of bids for municipal derivatives and to cooperate with ongoing investigations.