Twenty U.S. states join generic drug price-fixing lawsuit

WASHINGTON, March 1 (Reuters) - California, Illinois and 18 more states have joined a lawsuit filed last year alleging that six companies, including Mylan NV and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, conspired to push up prices of two generic drugs, the Connecticut attorney general’s office said on Wednesday.

Connecticut, which leads the group, and 19 other states filed the original lawsuit on Dec. 15. It added the additional states in filing an amended complaint which also added violations of state antitrust laws, the Connecticut attorney general’s office said in a statement.

The state lawsuit is part of a broader effort by the federal government, states and the U.S. Congress to address the rising cost of many generic drugs.

The drugs involved in the state lawsuit are the delayed release version of a common antibiotic, doxycycline hyclate, and glyburide, an older drug used to treat diabetes.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, also names Australian drugmaker Mayne Pharma Group Ltd, Heritage Pharmaceuticals Inc, Aurobindo Pharma Ltd and Citron Pharma LLC.

The lawsuit characterized Heritage as the “principal architect and ringleader” that helped organize a “wide-ranging series of conspiracies” to fix prices. The U.S. Justice Department filed a related lawsuit in December against two former Heritage executives.

A spokeswoman for Aurobindo declined to comment while the other companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment. (Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)