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CALIFORNIA | BRIEFLY: PHARMACEUTICALS

Medication to Be Donated Under Settlement

April 22, 1999| Bloomberg News

Merck & Co., Glaxo-Wellcome Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and 14 other drug companies will give away $148 million worth of products in California during the next three years to settle allegations they conspired to fix the price of prescription brand-name drugs. The drug makers were accused in the class-action suit of overcharging California consumers for drugs purchased through retail pharmacies since 1990. Under the deal approved in San Francisco County Superior Court, the companies agreed to donate products used to treat hypertension, asthma, diabetes and other health problems. The donations will not begin for at least six months, said plaintiffs attorney Joshua Davis. The settlement is one of the largest to resolve antitrust claims against the drug industry in a state court, though the companies still face possible damages in separate claims by retail pharmacies.

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