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A drug wholesaler accused of overcharging for flu vaccine agreed Wednesday to turn over its remaining inventory — a total of five vials — and to no longer buy or sell it. Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist had asked a judge to order ASAP Meds Inc. of Fort Lauderdale, which does business as Meds-Stat, to stop selling vaccine for prices as high as $900 a vial. The vaccine has previously sold for as little as $63 a vial. In response, the company agreed it would stop purchases and sales and would surrender its remaining stock — five vials, or 50 shots — to the Florida Department of Health to be distributed to the public for free. Attorneys general in Kansas and Florida are suing Meds-Stat for allegedly trying to seek “unconscionable profits” by offering pharmacies flu shots for prices way above normal. Crist said the agreement doesn’t end the lawsuit, but is meaningful nonetheless. “That’s 50 human beings,” he said. “That matters.” Meds-Stat lawyer Marc Nurik said the company wasn’t planning to continue sales or purchases of vaccine anymore anyway because a supply isn’t easily available. He called the lawsuit “without merit,” and said it “was brought in haste without them knowing all the facts.” Meds-Stat initially purchased 335 vials, paying up to $610 per vial, Nurik said. The nation’s flu vaccine supply was cut in half earlier this month when British regulators unexpectedly shut down a major U.S. vaccine supplier, Chiron Corp., freezing shipment of up to 48 million expected flu shots. Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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