Apotex to pay $100m over price-fixing claims

Image copyright Pixabay Image caption Apotex has donated millions to charity in Canada

Canadian drug manufacturer Apotex Inc. has agreed to pay US regulators $100m (£81m) to settle allegations of price-fixing and to help investigate its competitors.

The settlement will allow consumers to receive refunds for any medication they bought that had been affected.

The company and one of its former executives have already pleaded guilty to six charges related to similar allegations in the United States.

Meanwhile, co-founder Barry Sherman, 74, has been found dead in his Toronto home.

Police are investigating his death as suspicious, but have not made any link between it and the allegations that he was involved in a price-fixing conspiracy.

Prosecutors allege that Apotex and Atrium Pharmaceuticals Inc agreed to fix the prices of acetaminophen, which is used for pain relief.

As well as the guilty plea, Apotex will now pay the U.S. Justice Department another $66m, representing profits from three drugs, and will pay interest totalling $24m.

And the company will also undertake a three-year period of “good faith cooperation”, authorities said.

“We are pleased to have resolved this matter and resolved the issue that we admitted to back in November of 2014,” Apotex President André Turcotte said in a phone interview.

“This settlement closes the books on the matter.”

Image copyright Apotex Image caption The company was accused of targeting rivals with other products

Canada’s Competition Bureau said: “This settlement upholds competition law in Canada and sends a clear message that collusion among drug manufacturers is unacceptable.”

Apotex was accused of targeting rivals by creating a lengthy list of drugs and then selling them through alternative distributors, creating an advantage over those firms.

It also allegedly produced inferior batches of the drugs to avoid paying royalties to their original manufacturers, and tried to stop one of its competitors making an expensive generic version of the painkiller Aleve.

The company has also donated millions to charity in Canada and has set up a charitable foundation named after its co-founder, who died in December, and his wife.

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