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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 April 2006, 18:32 GMT 19:32 UK
Norton settles price fixing claim
The case centres on common prescription drugs
Healthcare giant Norton has become the third company to agree a multi-million pound settlement with the NHS to end a claim for alleged price fixing.

Under the terms of its agreement, US-based Norton does not accept any liability but will pay the NHS a total of 13.5m compensation.

The case, which dates back to 2003, refers to the supply of generic drugs.

Two firms have already agreed to pay compensation for their alleged role - UK firm Generics and India's Ranbaxy.

Generics announced a 12m settlement last summer, and Ranbaxy has agreed to pay 4.5m in compensation.

Like Norton, they have not accepted any liability.

Public interest

"These recoveries are one of the largest ever made in a case involving the public sector and certainly the largest yet in a case of this kind involving the NHS," said Jim Gee, director of NHS counter fraud services.

"Norton is the third of the defendant companies to have recognised the strength of the claim made by the NHS and to have decided to act in the public interest.

"Their approach is to be praised and represents another step towards the NHS recovering its losses.

"The remaining defendant companies should recognise our resolve to press on with the continuing civil proceedings against all of those allegedly concerned in the price fixing arrangements."

A spokesman for NHS counter fraud services said the companies still facing civil suits were Regent-GM Laboratories, Goldshield Group, Kent Pharmaceuticals and DDSA Pharmaceuticals.


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