German Drugmaker Sandoz, on March 1 has agreed to pay $195 million to avoid trial on charges of conspiring to fix prices of generic drugs, international media reported citing US prosecutors. The US Justice Department, in 2019 reportedly accused Sandoz and 19 other drugmakers of artificially inflating the prices of some 100 treatments.
According to the complaint filed in a federal court in Connecticut, the price of treatments, which ranged from antidepressants to drugs for a wide range of diseases, multiplied by as much as 10 times. The Justice Department said that one former Sandoz executive, Hector Armando Kellum had pleaded guilty to unspecified charges stemming from the investigation, international media reported.
The Department, in a statement, said that Sandoz has reportedly agreed to pay a $195 million criminal penalty and admitted that its sales were affected by the charged conspiracies exceed $500 Million. It also revealed that the misconduct happened between 2013 and 2015 and added that under the deferred prosecution agreement, Sandoz had agreed to cooperate fully with an ongoing criminal investigation.
According to media reports, Sandoz which is a subsidiary of Novartis had previously denied the charges but on March 2, it issued a statement admitting the “misconduct.’ Carol Lynch, the company’s president told international media that the organisation was serious about antitrust laws and in reaching the resolution, they were not only resolving historical issues but also underscoring their “commitment to continually improving their compliance and training programmes and evolving their countries.”
Lynch further said that she was disappointed that the misconduct occurred in the face of their clear antitrust compliance policies and multiple pieces of training and in full contravention of the company's values." "Individuals implicated in the underlying conduct are no longer employed by the company," she added. According to international media reports, the company was negotiating with the Justice department’s civil division to resolve potential claims and had put aside $185 million for the same.