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Pharmaceutical Giant Teva Faces Canadian Government Ban Amidst Antitrust Cartel Scandal

OTTAWA - Teva Pharmaceuticals, a major player in the drug industry, finds itself barred from doing business with the Canadian government until spring 2025. The reason? Teva's American arm, Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, was recently penalized a hefty $225 million by U.S. authorities for its involvement in an antitrust cartel, manipulating drug prices in the United States.

This suspension was initiated in October by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) after Teva USA entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. government. This agreement aimed to resolve the company's participation in what authorities labeled a significant "domestic antitrust cartel." Jeremy Link, spokesperson for PSPC, stated that Teva USA faced charges in the United States, though specific offenses were not disclosed. Teva's spokesperson, Yonatan Beker, acknowledged the suspension's link to the U.S. agreement, emphasizing that it won't impact existing government contracts or hinder the company's contribution to Canada's healthcare programs. Contrary to the U.S. penalties, Teva Canada, a separate entity, continues its dealings with the Canadian government. Ongoing contracts include one valued at over $3 million for "multi-source pharmaceuticals" and another, awarded in July, exceeding $700,000 for generic pharmaceuticals. The roots of Teva USA's troubles lie in a massive price-fixing scheme, involving seven generic pharmaceutical companies, leading to the largest-ever criminal penalty of $225 million. Teva USA admitted its involvement in three price-fixing conspiracies related to essential medicines, such as the widely-used cholesterol drug pravastatin. The company engaged in anti-competitive practices, including agreements with competitors to avoid bidding on certain drugs, suppressing competition. Other implicated companies, including Apotex, Glenmark, Taro, and Sandoz, also admitted their involvement in the schemes. Questions arise regarding the absence of similar actions against Apotex, despite its admission to price-fixing years prior to Teva. Observers call for the Canadian Competition Bureau to investigate potential cartel activities in Canada. This case highlights the significance of regulatory actions to ensure fair corporate conduct, with consequences that extend beyond borders. Teva's suspension serves as a reminder that regulatory bodies will not tolerate anticompetitive practices, emphasizing the need for integrity in the pharmaceutical industry.

Teva makes a drug called "Austedo" that helps with Huntington's Disease.



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