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In a victory for generic drug makers, a federal court judge temporarily blocked a controversial California law that bans so-called pay-to-delay deals between pharmaceutical companies, a contentious issue that has factored into the larger debate over the cost of prescription medicines.

The ruling came in response to arguments by the Association of Affordable Medicines, which has been seeking to overturn the law ever since it went into effect in the fall of 2019. The state became the first in the nation to outlaw pay-to-delay deals, a step California officials said was necessary to prevent drug companies from thwarting competition and maintaining higher prices.

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