Drugs firm ordered to hand over papers

A Minnesota District Court judge has ordered GlaxoSmithKline to turn over documents regarding its policy of limiting its sales to Canada to the state’s Attorney General.

A Minnesota District Court judge has ordered GlaxoSmithKline to turn over documents regarding its policy of limiting its sales to Canada to the state’s Attorney General.

Attorney General Mike Hatch is investigating whether Glaxo officials conspired with other drug companies when it decided more than a year ago to restrict sales to Canada in order to stop its medicines from being resold in America.

In a statement, Glaxo officials said they were disappointed in the decision and expect to appeal.

Hatch noted other companies, including Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly and Wyeth Laboratories soon announced similar efforts to block the importation of Canadian drugs. “We think that’s too much of a coincidence,” Hatch said.

The order requires Glaxo to produce documents that it holds in Britain and Canada.

Hatch already has been given about a dozen boxes of documents that were kept in the United States. Hatch initiated his legal quest for extra documents last May.

He said he hopes to find written proof of collusion.

Hatch said 25 other states signed on to a brief supporting his investigation. He said he expects other states to launch similar investigations into other companies.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans purchase their drugs in Canada where government price controls keep medicines up to 50% cheaper than they are in America.

GlaxoSmithKline has defended its actions by arguing that US law already bans imports of prescription drugs.

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