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October 2, 2003

Blagojevich asks Attorney General Madigan to investigate drug-makers’ possible plan to deny American consumers access to lower priced medications

CHICAGO – Continuing his effort to tear down barriers to affordable prescription drugs, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today called on Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to investigate possible anti-trust violations by major pharmaceutical companies who are fighting to keep U.S. consumers from obtaining prescription medications on the lower priced Canadian market.


“If American consumers can’t get fair prices on their medications here in the U.S., then they’re going to find a way to get those same medications for a lower price elsewhere.  The pharmaceutical companies see the writing on the wall and are going to great lengths to protect their U.S. profit margins.  We want to know exactly how far they are going.  If we find they are violating the law to keep prices high, we’ll take action,” said Blagojevich. 


Specifically, the Governor is asking Madigan to look into whether the pharmaceutical companies are illegally conspiring to limit supply to Canada, which would violate state and federal anti-trust laws.


Blagojevich’s announcement comes after at least four major pharmaceutical makers have restricted supply to Canadian pharmacies and wholesalers that sell to American consumers.  The actions of GlaxoSmithKline PLC, AstraZeneca PLC, Wyeth and Pfizer Inc. limit the ability of Canadian pharmacies to provide medications to Americans, forcing consumers to buy in the U.S., which has the world’s highest drug prices.


Minnesota’s Attorney General recently opened an investigation into GlaxoSmithKline’s boycott of Canadian pharmacies that import drugs to the United States.


“If drug-makers are acting in a manner that hurts seniors and other consumers in Illinois, then we’re going to do something about it,” Blagojevich said.


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