PITTSBURGH (AP) _ The Federal Trade Commission has approved a tentative $100 million settlement of claims, that Mylan Laboratories Inc. fixed prices of anti-anxiety drugs widely used by senior citizens, the company said Wednesday.
Details are still being negotiated and attorneys general in 32 states and U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan also must approve it for the settlement, announced last July, to be finalized.
Thirty-two states, the District of Columbia, patients and the federal government filed lawsuits in 1998 accusing the Pittsburgh-based pharmaceutical giant of illegally increasing prices for two tranquilizers and cutting off competition. The drugs are used to treat Alzheimer’s disease and other ailments.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Mike Fisher said the company hiked the price of clorazepate 3,000 percent in January 1998 and Lorazepam by 2,500 percent in March that year.
If finalized, the $100 million will be divided among the states, including Pennsylvania, who sued Mylan. The money then will be used to repay consumers and state agencies who paid the hiked prices for the drugs.
Other states that sued include Texas, Alaska, California, Louisiana, Minnesota, North Carolina, Tennessee and Vermont.
The lawsuits alleged that Mylan cut off competition by striking an exclusive agreement with Profarmaco S.R.L. in Milan, Italy, a crucial supplier. The suits said other suppliers could not make enough of the drugs for Mylan’s competitors.
The company says the deal was intended to ensure Mylan’s source of ingredients would not be interrupted.
Mylan spokeswoman Patricia Sunseri did not immediately return calls seeking comment Wednesday.
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