Rising Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Rising), a generic pharmaceutical company headquartered in New Jersey, was charged for conspiring to fix prices and allocate customers for a generic hypertension drug, the Department of Justice announced today.
According to a one-count felony charge filed today in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, from about April 2014 until at least September 2015, Rising participated in a criminal antitrust conspiracy with a competing manufacturer of generic drugs and its executives to fix prices and allocate customers for Benazepril HCTZ, a medicine used to treat hypertension. This charge is the fourth in the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division’s ongoing criminal investigation in the generic pharmaceuticals industry; previously, two executives were charged and pleaded guilty to criminal antitrust violations, and a corporation, Heritage Pharmaceuticals Inc., was charged and entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Antitrust Division.
Today, the Antitrust Division also announced a deferred prosecution agreement resolving the charge against Rising, under which the company admits that it conspired to fix prices and allocate customers for Benazepril HCTZ. Under the deferred prosecution agreement, Rising agrees that $1,543,207 is the appropriate amount of restitution it owes to victims of the charged conduct. To account for Rising’s separate agreement with the Department’s Civil Division, which requires Rising to pay approximately $1.1 million in civil damages for False Claims Act violations predicated on Rising’s antitrust conduct, the deferred prosecution agreement calls for an offset of Rising’s restitution, to $438,066.
“The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General appreciates the opportunity to assist in these critical generics industry antitrust investigations,” said Special Agent in Charge Scott Pierce. “Aggressively pursuing those companies and executives who foster behavior related to price fixing, bid rigging and market allocation helps to ensure an open process by which generic pharmaceuticals can be competitively priced and sold. Working closely with the Department of Justice and our counterparts at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General stands ready to support these vital efforts going forward.”