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Oregon to share in Paxil accord

Drug manufacturer will settle claims it blocked generic items

The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA ' The maker of the antidepressant Paxil agreed to pay &

36;14 million to states, including Oregon, to settle allegations that it blocked generic versions of the drug from being made, causing the states to pay higher prices.

A spokeswoman for Paxil's maker, London-based GlaxoSmithKline, said the company denied any wrongdoing and was not admitting liability in making the settlement.

We made the decision that settling was appropriate to avoid the expense and distraction of protracted litigation, company spokeswoman Gaile Renegar said.

The states had alleged that Glaxo used frivolous patent-infringement lawsuits against generic drug makers, triggering automatic extensions of the patent for Paxil. That delayed the introduction of generic versions of the drug, resulting in higher prices both for Medicaid programs and the general public, according to the attorneys general who won the settlement filed Tuesday in federal court in Philadelphia.

The settlement is primarily for purchases made by Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor that is jointly funded by states and the federal government.

GSK used the courts to hold onto a monopoly for a popular drug, and the end result was that consumers ' including Medicaid ' paid more than they should have, Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon said in a statement released by his office.

The settlement was agreed to by the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.