Canada’s largest pharmaceutical company to pay $100 million to US prosecutors

(CNN) — Canada’s largest privately owned pharmaceutical company, Apotex Inc., has reached a deal with US prosecutors in which it will pay $100 million to help investigate the drug industry and may also face…

Canada’s largest pharmaceutical company to pay $100 million to US prosecutors

(CNN) — Canada’s largest privately owned pharmaceutical company, Apotex Inc., has reached a deal with US prosecutors in which it will pay $100 million to help investigate the drug industry and may also face criminal charges over accusations of price-fixing, according to sources.

The probe was first reported by Reuters, which said Apotex became involved last year.

Apotex’s alleged conduct, in a joint U.S.-Canada investigation, involved illegally participating in prescription drug price negotiations and influencing price levels through price spikes, according to an official at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Apotex has not been accused of price fixing, according to the person.

The U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment. A Canada spokesperson for Apotex said the company expects “to be a co-operative participant in the Canadian Competition Tribunal,” a system that seeks to resolve matters through mediation and/or oversight without bringing a formal civil case.

In recent months Apotex has been subpoenaed by U.S. antitrust authorities and Canada’s Competition Bureau as part of a joint probe into widespread anticompetitive conduct in the Canadian pharmaceutical industry, including on price-fixing for generic medications, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

On Tuesday, Apotex became the first Canadian company to formally acknowledge that it was one of a group of pharmaceutical companies suspected of participating in illegal price-fixing activities.

Apotex said in a press release that, under its June settlement, the company “reserves the right to challenge the scope and scope of this Agreement.”

“Apotex intends to only cooperate in the US inquiry where the company is not subject to any investigation by the US Department of Justice, as well as where it is not under investigation by either of these governmental agencies for conduct in either the US or Canada,” the statement read.

In August, the Competition Bureau searched Apotex’s headquarters. The bureau investigation centers on the “extensive pricing strategy and conduct of large and small Canadian pharmaceutical companies,” according to public documents that the bureau filed in Toronto court.

Last month, Apotex said that the bureau found no signs of collusion or price fixing.

The bureau’s probe is focused on pricing practices of prescription drugs, including those related to the generics segment, according to a bureau press release.

Apotex is the largest private pharmaceutical company in Canada and the fourth largest in the world in terms of revenue, according to Forbes.

The privately held company is famous for manufacturing generic drugs, particularly hormone therapy pills, eye drops and steroid injections.

At the end of 2017, Apotex’s revenue was over $4 billion.

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