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After three years of squabbling, Bristol Myers Squibb has agreed to pay up to $11 million to settle a lawsuit that accused several drugmakers of conspiring to block generic competition to HIV medicines.

The lawsuit described an unusual scheme concerning fixed-dose combinations of different HIV medicines, which have been widely used for several years to combat the virus. The complaint also cited Gilead Sciences and Johnson & Johnson, whose medicines are useful components in these combinations, which are sometimes referred to as cocktail treatments.


The companies allegedly reached deals to use only their HIV medicines in any cocktail that might be marketed, even after a patent had expired. By doing so, generic versions would not be used in any cocktail, which forced consumers and other purchasers to pay higher prices than if a generic version was a component, according to the lawsuit filed by patient advocates.

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