Drug company Abbott Laboratories has agreed to pay between $10 million and $27.5 million to settle an antitrust lawsuit filed by AIDS patients over the company’s 400% price hike of a popular HIV drug. The actual payout under terms of the settlement depends on the resolution in an appeals court of three legal questions. The settlement must be approved by a federal judge in Oakland, where the lawsuit had been set to go to trial.
If the judge agreed with the patients’ economic experts and found Abbott raised the price of the drug to stifle competition, the company would have faced as much as $1 billion in damages. The drug, Norvir, is a key component in several important “cocktails” containing drugs made by rivals to treat the disease. On December 3, 2003, Abbott increased the price of Norvir’s average daily cost per patient from $1.71 to $8.57, prompting cries of “price gouging.” Abbott claimed it increased the drug’s price because patients required much smaller doses of Norvir when used as a booster rather than as a standalone drug.
Source: Associated Press
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