ghp July 2015 | 13 DoJ Believes Collusion over Generic drug Prices Widespread- Source In a SEC filing on 6 November, Delaware-based Lannett disclosed that a sales executive received a grand jury subpoena three days earlier “relating to a federal investigation of the generic pharmaceuti- cal industry into possible violations of the Sher- man Act.” The subpoena is related to competitor communications about generic drug sales but is not limited to any time period or product. On 7 No- vember, California-based Impax disclosed receiving a similar subpoena. In March, New Jersey-based Par Pharmaceutical disclosed a 5 December 2014 subpoena from the DoJ relating to digoxin and the antibiotic doxycycline. As previously reported by PaRR, no company has been granted amnesty in exchange for its cooper- ation with the investigation. That could mean that companies have not found enough evidence in their own internal investigations to warrant cooperation with the government. However, the source briefed by the prosecutor said the DoJ views the lack of an amnesty applicant as “bad lawyering”. But only a handful companies involved have retained antitrust counsel, and the healthcare focused attorneys retained by some may not be aware of the amnesty process, the source said. Although the probe into generic drug pricing has been underway for over a year, some manufactur- ers under investigation are still looking to retain antitrust counsel. PaRR spoke with a half dozen attorneys who are still seeking to retain corporate or individual clients in the generic pharmaceutical industry, a fact they said is unusual given the length of the ongoing investigation. A former federal antitrust prosecutor said one company could have an amnesty marker but is still “perfecting” it. Companies seeking amnesty from criminal prosecution place a “marker” with the DoJ to ensure another company does not take their spot. They then must provide all the information they have as quickly as possible, a process known as “perfect- ing the marker”. The former prosecutor, who prosecuted some of the auto parts cartel cases while at the DoJ, said that one of the markers in those investigations took years to perfect. The belief inside the DoJ is that this investigation could become the next auto parts investigation, according to the source briefed by the prosecutor. In that probe, the DoJ’s largest prosecution to date, the department has extracted plea deals from dozens of companies and executives involved in a multitude of different conspiracies on individual parts. With untold numbers of different generic drugs on the market, it may be possible for prosecutors to move from one drug to another in a similar cascad- ing fashion. The source said that prosecutors are taking a close look at trade associations as part of their investiga- tion as having been one potential avenue for facili- tating the collusion between salespeople at different generic producers. The DoJ’s investigation is believed to stem from a congressional inquiry into the same issues and media coverage of rapidly increasing generic drug prices. In January 2014, the National Community Pharmacists Association sent letters to congressional committees requesting hearings on the matter. In October, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and US Rep- resentative Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) launched an investigation requesting information from 14 generic drug companies on pricing issues relating to a variety of products. A hearing was held in November. According to materials published by Senator Sanders’ office, some generic drug prices jumped as much as 8,000% between October 2013 and April 2014. Inadequate Mental Health Support in UK says Report Statistics collated by Chrysalis Not for Profit Ltd highlight a worrying rise in UK residents suffering from a mental health condition, with a recent Care Quality Commission review showing that people who need urgent mental healthcare in England are receiving inadequate support. Chrysalis Courses, a top UK trainer in talking therapies, has published a new infographic which highlights need for more mental health care experts by illustrating just how common mental health conditions are in the UK. The not for profit organisation’s statistics show that one in ten British people suffer from either depression or anxiety during their life time, whilst the numbers of people turning to counselling continue to rise with a 4% increase in the past year. The infographic offers a visualised representa- tion of the statistics and illustrates the vastness of the issue. Chrysalis’s Head of Hypnotherapy, Karen Fergu- son, cited the stigma around mental ill health as a key issue in treating it. ‘Mental health is a serious issue and more needs to be done to help sufferers. Sadly, there is a lot of stigma attached to people suffering from a condition, which sometimes prevents people from receiving adequate help. We commissioned this infographic to visualise just how common these conditions are, so people will be more inclined to come forward and seek help. Thankfully, recent data suggests that more people are seeking counselling and therapy. However, as the CQC reported, adequate sup- port isn’t always readily available which is why we trying to encourage those who want to help to use the training infrastructure available to put you on the right track to becoming a counsellor or therapist.’ The Department of Justice (DoJ) believes price-fixing between makers of generic pharmaceuticals is widespread, a source briefed by a federal prosecutor involved in an ongoing criminal investigation told PaRR.