The United States Federal Trade Commission and the New York Attorney General's office are suing Vyera Pharmaceuticals LLC and former CEO Martin Shkreli for anti-competitive practices.
Vyera, formerly known as Turing Pharmaceuticals, led by Shkreli, attempted to stifle competition through wrongful means and keep their monopoly over the Daraprim drug, the two authorities said in a joint statement on Monday.
The price of Daraprim was raised to $750 per pill from an earlier $13.5 in 2015 after Vyera got exclusive rights over the decades-old drug that is used to treat a life-threatening parasitic infection called toxoplasmosis.
The complaint alleges that Vyera illegally restrained the trade of the drug through "restrictive distribution agreements" to ensure that companies seeking to make generic variants couldn't buy samples of the drug.
"Without samples, generics were unable to conduct the [Food and Drug Administration] mandated bioequivalence tests necessary for obtaining approval," the complaint said. Vyeva also prevented distributors from selling Daraprim sales data to third-party data reporting companies, it alleged.
Kevin Mulleady, another former CEO of the pharma company, has also been named in the complaint.
The authorities are seeking financial compensation for those who had to purchase the drug at the inflated price, remedial injunction to "restore competitive conditions to the market, and a lifetime industry ban against Shkreli.
"We filed this lawsuit to stop Vyera's egregious conduct, make the company pay for its illegal scheming, and block Martin Shkreli from ever working in the pharmaceutical industry again," New York attorney general Letitia James said in a statement.
"We won't allow ‘Pharma Bros' to manipulate the market and line their pockets at the expense of vulnerable patients and the health care system."
Shkreli is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence he got in 2018 on two counts of securities fraud in a separate case.
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