Sun Pharma Says U.S. Unit Gets Subpoena in Antitrust Probe

  • Documents sought on generic prices, sales, talks with rivals
  • Company says inquiry unlikely to adversely impact results

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., India’s largest drugmaker, said its U.S. unit received a grand jury subpoena from the Justice Department’s antitrust division related to generic products and pricing.

The summons also sought documents about communications with competitors and others regarding the sale of generic drugs, along with corporate and employee records, Sun Pharma said in a May 27 stock exchange filing.

In the U.S., there’s been public outcry and congressional scrutiny over price increases for prescription drugs, including many older, off-patent medications, that are putting them out of reach for many patients.

At a Senate hearing in March, Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, a Democrat, called jacking up drug prices a “sick game” in announcing a bipartisan investigation into pharmaceutical drug pricing. About 10 percent of generic drugs doubled in price between July 2013 and June 2014, and half of all generic drugs rose in price, according to a 2015 analysis of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid data.

Mumbai-based Sun Pharmaceuticals, controlled by billionaire Dilip Shanghvi, calls itself the world’s fifth-largest specialty generic maker. It reported 45 percent of third-quarter sales were in the U.S.

Generics Scrutinized

The company was responding to the Justice Department’s subpoena, and the outcome of the inquiry was unlikely to have any adverse material impact on operations or financial results, Sun Pharma said, without giving additional details. Frederick Castro, a company spokesman, declined to comment as did Peter Carr, a Justice Department spokesman.

Allergan Plc’s Activis unit, which is being acquired by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., disclosed in 2015 that it had been subpoenaed by the Justice Department for information on the marketing and prices of its generic drugs. Competitors including Lannett Co., Endo International Plc and Par Pharmaceutical Holdings Inc. made similar disclosures in 2015.

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