Former Novartis exec pleads guilty to generic price fixing
On Friday, Hector Armando Kellum — a former senior executive at Novartis’ Sandoz unit plead guilty to charges of conspiring to fix the prices of products, including eczema and psoriasis treatment clobetasol and anti-fungal therapy nystatin triamcinolone, the Justice Department said.
His alleged partners-in-crime included Ara Aprahamian, a former sales and marketing executive at Taro Pharmaceutical Industries, who was also indicted in Philadelphia earlier this month for price-fixing and bid-rigging.
Kellum is the fourth executive to be charged in this ongoing investigation, and the third to plead guilty. To date, two companies have also been charged. A violation of the charged offense carries a statutory maximum penalty of a decade in prison and a $1 million criminal fine, according to the Justice Department.
Surging drug prices in the United States are a thorny yet rare bipartisan issue — with patients, policymakers and politicians decrying sharp hikes on branded and generic medicines.
In 2016, generic companies Teva and Mylan, alongside smaller some players were embroiled in a major antitrust suit in which twenty states attorney general accused them of conspiring to artificially inflate prices.