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ANTITRUST Blood-clot medication suit settles for $22.5M Woodcliff Lake, N.J. (AP)-Drug maker Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc. said that it has agreed to pay $22.5 million to settle a lawsuit with a unit of Swiss drug maker Novartis A.G. The litigation stems from a suit Invamed Inc. and Apothecon Inc. filed in 1998 charging Barr with violating antitrust laws and illegally blocking access to the raw material source for warfarin sodium, a drug that prevents blood clots. Both Invamed and Apothecon have been acquired by Novartis since they filed the suit. MEDICAL MALPRACTICE $30M award over misuse of blood-clotting agent Philadelphia-A Pennsylvania state jury has awarded $30 million to the family of a 5-year-old boy whose severe cognitive and developmental deficiencies were alleged to have resulted from the misadministration of a blood-clot-busting medication. Daniel Keenan was treated with the medication while a patient at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. However, the actual disposition amount is not known, as the parties reached a confidential high-low agreement shortly after the jury began deliberations. In March 2002, hospital staff treated the 1-year-old boy, who had a blood clot, with a tissue plasmogen activator, known as a clot-busting agent. His parents alleged that improper treatment with the agent led to Daniel’s suffering a massive stroke. - ALM PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY Wash. hospital wins suit against La. hospital Richland, Wash. (AP)-A Louisiana federal jury has awarded a Washington state hospital and its insurance carrier $4.1 million in their suit against a Louisiana hospital and two doctors who warmly recommended a colleague without disclosing his drug problem. The doctor, an anesthesiologist, was involved in a 2002 surgery at Kadlec Medical Center here that left a woman severely brain-damaged. According to court records, Dr. Robert Lee Berry had been diverting the narcotic Demerol from patients for his own use while working in Louisiana. Two of his partners and the administration at Lakeview Regional Medical Center in New Orleans knew of his drug problem, but failed to disclose it to officials at Kadlec Medical Center. Instead, they offered “glowing letters of recommendation.” REGULATORY ACTION AG, drug maker settle Medicaid fraud case Austin, Texas (AP)-The state attorney general’s office has announced that it has reached an $8.5 million settlement with Illinois-based Baxter Healthcare Corp. for alleged Medicaid fraud. The attorney general’s office had alleged a scheme to report falsely wholesale prices of specific drugs and devices prescribed for Medicaid patients, thus defrauding the state Medicaid program. Baxter, specifically, was accused of falsifying wholesale prices of I-V fluids and injectable medications. SHAREHOLDER SUIT Energy unit’s accounting habits costs firm $290M Tulsa, Okla. (AP)-Williams Cos. Inc. will pay $290 million to settle a shareholder class action. The lawsuit stemmed from accounting practices related to energy trading and potential liability associated with Williams Communications Group Inc., a former unit of Williams. Williams guaranteed more than $2 billion of that company’s debt. Williams Communications later went bankrupt. The settlement covers investors who purchased Williams securities between July 24, 2000, and July 22, 2002. TORTS Michigan city pays $6M over police crash death Dearborn, Mich. (AP)-The city of Dearborn has agreed to pay $6 million to settle a lawsuit over a 2003 fatal crash caused by one of its traffic officers. Agron Seiko, who was assigned to write parking tickets and impound cars, joined a police chase without being ordered to and crashed into a car, killing William V. Owen IV. State police said that Seiko ran a red light and was traveling about 60 mph in a 40 mph zone. WATER POLLUTION Chemical makers must pay city $178 million Fresno, Calif. (AP)-A California state jury has ordered three chemical manufacturers to pay the city of Modesto, Calif., $178.2 million for contaminating its water with suspected carcinogens. Jurors found that the companies acted with malice because they failed to tell dry cleaners how to use the chemicals without harming the environment. Of the amount, $175 million consists of punitive damages and $3.2 million in actual damages. Vulcan Materials Co. was ordered to pay $100 million and Dow Chemical Co. was ordered to pay $75 million. WHISTLEBLOWER SUIT Health care provider to settle Medicare charges Newark, N.J. (AP)-Saint Barnabas Health Care System will pay $265 million to settle federal charges that it cheated Medicare out of more than $500 million by inflating charges for seriously ill patients. Prosecutors alleged that Saint Barnabas hospitals deliberately inflated charges for patient care under the Medicare program. The hospitals started tacking on extra charges, such as the cost of nursing and housecleaning, making treatment appear more costly than it actually was. Prosecutors became aware of the allegations in 2002 when three whistleblowers filed suits alleging Medicare overcharges.

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