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June 25, 2004

This is your AG on drugs

Via Michael DeBow, guest-posting at Overlawyered: Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell, incoming president of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), says he plans to lead the organization in a campaign against high pharmaceutical prices, and NAAG has scheduled a meeting for Chicago in January on the subject. Are we being unfair in suspecting that for many AGs the identification of a popular voter issue came first, and the search for possible legal hooks justifying their own involvement followed afterward? Whatever its origin, anti-drugmaker AG activism is cropping up all over the place: Wisconsin (AG Peg Lautenschlager earlier this month sued 20 cos. demanding price rollback); Minnesota (AG Mike Hatch released screed bashing drug manufacturers as "the other drug cartel"; Illinois (AG Lisa Madigan (more) on campaign trail denounced "obscene" profits and promised investigation). To no one's surprise, the private plaintiff's bar got there first: see Overlawyered, Oct. 19, 2000 (suits "could eventually dwarf current tobacco litigation"); Nov. 24, 2003 (tobacco/mass tort firm Hagens & Berman using California's ultra-elastic s. 17200 to challenge various marketing practices that Congress and the FDA have not seen fit to ban). More: Derek Lowe discusses New York AG Eliot Spitzer's suit against Glaxo SmithKline (Jun. 8). See also R. Glenn Hubbard, "Attacking Drug-Makers Is No Cure", Financial Times, Jun. 16, reprinted at AEI site.

Posted by Walter Olson at 10:30 AM | TrackBack (1)

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