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Conn. Spearheads Antitrust Probe Against OxyContin Maker

Jan 13, 2004 | Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is calling on other states to join an investigation into Purdue Pharma, the Stamford, Conn.-based maker of the controversial painkiller OxyContin, the Associated Press reported Jan. 8.

Blumenthal said his antitrust probe would determine whether Purdue Pharma prevented the development of less-costly generic alternatives.

"We will investigate aggressively and vigorously possible legal action seeking antitrust remedies and we've already begun organizing other states to do so with us," said Blumenthal.

In a separate move, the Connecticut Citizen Action Group and others have filed a federal lawsuit against Purdue Pharma. The suit claims that the company violated antitrust laws by creating a monopoly for OxyContin through misrepresentations to the U.S. Patent Office. The company's actions, the lawsuit contends, caused users to pay higher prices for the painkiller.

Purdue Pharma is also dealing with a federal judge's ruling that its patents are invalid because the company purposely misled the U.S. Patent Office. The company plans to appeal the ruling.

"The court's decision provides a very clear road map for claims based on its dramatic findings of anticompetitive and possibly deceptive conduct," Blumenthal said. "There are few investigations that begin with such a powerful and compelling federal court finding about anticompetitive conduct as we seem to have here."

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