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February 16, 1996|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Judge Gives Preliminary OK to Drug Settlement: The action moves a $409-million settlement of a lawsuit by pharmacies against drug manufacturers one step closer to final approval. U.S. District Judge Charles Kocoras' decision means notices will go out to the drugstores in the class-action lawsuit seeking comment. Kocoras set March 27 for a final decision on approving the settlement of the lawsuit, in which about 40,000 pharmacies alleged that drug manufacturers gave favorable pricing to health maintenance organizations, pharmaceutical mail-order houses and others. Attorneys for the pharmacists have called it the best deal their clients can get, but others have balked because the agreement does not address future pricing practices.

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