US accuses Israel's Teva of fixing drug prices
Teva and several co-conspirators "agreed to fix prices, rig bids, and allocate customers for generic drugs" including the popular cholesterol-regulating medicine Pravastatin, the Justice Department said in a statement.
Patients would have paid a total of $350 million more than they should have, the department said.
Teva rejected the charges and said it was "deeply disappointed that the government has chosen to proceed with this prosecution."
Efforts to find a solution had made no progress as "the DOJ has shown an unwillingness to consider alternatives that would not deeply impact Teva and the stakeholders who depend on the company, including the patients who benefit from our medicines," Teva said in a statement.
Five companies investigated in the case have already paid heavy fines to avoid prosecution.
Sandoz, a subsidiary of the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis, agreed to pay $195 million in March, and the American subsidiary of the Israeli group Taro Pharmaceuticals agreed to pay $205.7 million in July.
Other companies involved include Apotex, which agreed to pay a $24.1 million fine in May, and Glenmark, which was indicted by a grand jury in July.
Teva, which sold $17 billion worth of drugs last year, was also accused earlier this month by US authorities of artificially inflating the reimbursement price for its multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone for patients in the government-run Medicare program.