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A federal judge breathed new life into a long-running effort by the pharmaceutical industry to thwart a controversial California law that requires drug makers to not only provide advance notice of price hikes, but also give the reasons for any increases.

In a ruling on Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Morrison England Jr. allowed the PhRMA trade group to proceed with an amended lawsuit that argues the law is unconstitutional because it violates interstate commerce and free speech principles, unfairly holds drug makers largely accountable for prices, and purportedly has fuzzy language about the timeframe for providing notice of a price hike.


The lawsuit must still play out in court, so for now, the California law remains intact. In fact, later this month, state officials are expected to release a comprehensive report showing price hikes on a drug-by-drug basis sold by each company to state agencies, according to a spokesman for the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

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