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Judge to allow disclosure of pharmaceutical settlement amounts

By Ken Kobayashi

LAST UPDATED: 12:20 p.m. HST, Oct 1, 2010

A state judge said today that he is lifting his order prohibiting the disclosure of the amounts of money the state recovered in out-of-settlements with pharmaceutical companies accused of gouging the state in Medicaid payments.

But it likely won’t be until next week that Circuit Judge Gary Chang’s formal written decision will be filed to clear the way for the disclosure of the total amount, which is believed to be in the tens of millions of dollars.

Chang issued the order last year in the state’s lawsuit accusing more than 40 pharmaceutical drug manufacturers of inflating their drug prices to drive up the costs of the Hawaii Medicaid drug prescription program.

The judge’s order said settlement negotiations would be jeopardized by the disclosures.

Chang noted today that the last remaining drug company in the case reached a settlement last week. “The court is of the opinion that the balance of interest now favors transparency rather than privacy,” he said.

State Attorney General Mark Bennett argued in favor of lifting the order, while attorney Lisa Munger urged the judge in behalf of the drug manufacturers to keep the settlements confidential.

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