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Pharmaceutical lawsuit settlement

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Oklahoma will share in an $80 million settlement of a lawsuit by 28 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico against two pharmaceutical companies.

Attorney General Drew Edmondson said Aventis and Andrx pharmaceutical companies have entered into a preliminary agreement with the states. Once approved, Oklahoma's share of the settlement will be about $140,000 for state agencies and $250,000 for consumers.

The lawsuit accused Aventis, the maker and distributor of the heart medication Cardizem CD, of paying competitor Andrx almost $90 million to keep its generic version of Cardizem CD off the market.

``Oklahoma consumers should not be forced to choose between their medication and other necessities,'' Edmondson said.

``Companies who drive up prescription costs and force people to make those choices must be made to answer for their actions.''

The drug costs $67 for a one-month supply. Generic drugs are typically about 70 percent of the brand name price.

Under the settlement, Aventis and Andrx will pay $80 million into a fund that will compensate consumers, state agencies and insurance companies that overpaid for the drug between 1998 and 2002.
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