Teva offices
Teva officesFlash 90

The US Justice Department on Tuesday charged Israeli generic drug giant Teva of illegally fixing drug prices between 2013 and 2015, AFP reported.

Teva and several co-conspirators agreed to fix prices, rig bids, and allocate customers for generic drugs" including the popular cholesterol-regulating medicine Pravastatin, the Justice Department said in a statement quoted by the news agency.

Patients would have paid a total of $350 million more than they should have, the department said.

Five companies investigated in the case have already paid heavy fines to avoid prosecution.

Sandoz, a subsidiary of the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis, agreed to pay $195 million in March, and the American subsidiary of the Israeli group Taro Pharmaceuticals agreed to pay $205.7 million in July.

Other companies involved include Apotex, which agreed to pay a $24.1 million fine in May, and Glenmark, which was indicted by a grand jury in July.

Teva, which sold $17 billion worth of drugs last year, was also accused earlier this month by US authorities of artificially inflating the reimbursement price for its multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone for patients in the government-run Medicare program.

Last year, Teva vowed to defend itself after being accused of orchestrating price-fixing among drugmakers in a US antitrust lawsuit.

In 2018, the Israeli justice ministry fined Teva $22 million for bribing foreign officials to win business in Russia, Ukraine and Mexico, rather than pressing charges in court against the drugmaker.