Geneva Pharmaceuticals and Abbott Laboratories to Pay $200,000 Civil Penalty

DENVER -- Attorney General John W. Suthers announced today that his Office, in conjunction with the Attorneys General of Florida and Kansas, has settled a lawsuit against Geneva Pharmaceuticals of Broomfield (recently renamed Sandoz Pharmaceuticals) and Abbott Laboratories of Illinois.

In its order of March 7th preliminarily approving the settlement, the U.S. District Court overseeing the case ordered Geneva and Abbott to pay a combined $200,000 civil penalty to the State of Colorado. The settlement is subject to final approval by the Court.

The settlement resolves claims that Geneva and Abbott engaged in anticompetitive conduct that delayed the availability of a generic version of Hytrin. Hytrin is a brand name drug manufactured by Abbott. It is prescribed for hypertension and enlarged prostate. Geneva manufactures a generic version of this drug.

According to allegations made in the states’ lawsuits, Geneva received payments from Abbott in exchange for its agreement to delay entry of its generic version of Hytrin. The agreement was terminated in 1999 after an investigation was launched. Earlier this year the Court characterized the agreement between Geneva and Abbott as “so obviously anticompetitive that it violates the Sherman Act under a per se analysis.”

“This office has been pursuing anticompetitive practices by pharmaceutical companies over the past several years, and I am pleased to announce that we have been successful in our fight against Geneva and Abbott,” Attorney General Suthers announced. “We will continue to take actions that are necessary to ensure that pharmaceutical prices remain at legal and competitive levels.”

State law lacks a provision that would allow Colorado consumers to recover any money for damages they might have incurred in this case. Assistant Attorney General Devin Laiho handled this case for Colorado.

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