Louisiana AG drops Amgen anti-trust lawsuit

James "Buddy" Caldwell

BATON ROUGE -- Louisiana Attorney General James "Buddy" Caldwell has dropped a lawsuit against drugmaker Amgen Inc. that his predecessor filed on the last day of his term, his office said Thursday. Allen Usry, special counsel to the Louisiana attorney general, told Legal Newsline that like other AGs in the nation, Caldwell is monitoring a lawsuit against Amgen pending in New Jersey to determine whether he will re-file. Usry said Caldwell's withdrawal of the lawsuit is "not a comment on potential merits on case." The Louisiana lawsuit was filed Jan. 14 by then-Democratic Attorney General Charles Foti, who hired a team of private attorneys who were campaign contributors to litigate the case. Lawyers from the Dugan Law Firm and the Murray Law Firm, both based in New Orleans, are listed as plaintiffs' attorneys in the case. State campaign finance papers show the Dugan Law Firm last year donated $5,000 to Foti's re-election campaign, while an attorney at the Murray Law Firm gave $5,000. Caldwell, a Democrat, decided this week to dismiss the case without prejudice, Caldwell spokeswoman Tammi Arender Herring told Legal Newsline. In the suit, Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based Amgen was accused of trying to corner the market on cancer therapeutic drugs. Specifically, the lawsuit alleged that the drugmaker engages in illegal pricing practices that penalize clinics if they fail to purchase significant volumes of its Aranesp, a medication used to fight chemotherapy-induced anemia. Amgen company spokeswoman Mary Klem said Amgen is "pleased" that the attorney general has withdrawn the case, adding that there was "no validity" to the anti-trust claims the former attorney general made in pursuing the case. "We firmly believe the contracts that were questioned in this case do not in any way restrain competition," Klem told LNL. "We are definitely a pro-competition company."

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