LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A private AIDS care provider has filed a lawsuit
against pharmaceutical giant Abbott Laboratories, accusing the
company of false advertising for saying that state Medicaid programs
would not be affected by a recent price increase for its AIDS drug.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation filed the Superior Court lawsuit late
Wednesday. The foundation, one of the country's largest AIDS care
providers, said the company made "fraudulent, false and misleading"
statements that state programs would not be affected by a nearly 400
percent rise in the price for its AIDS treatment ritonavir, which is
sold under the brand name Norvir.
The foundation said the statements induced consumers - including
itself - to continue buying Abbott's products, "despite its
Last month, the foundation filed a federal lawsuit accusing the
company of violating federal antitrust laws by abusing its patent on
The suit seeks unspecified damages and a court order setting a price
for the drug that is within "reasonable financial reach of the
The drug company strongly denied the charges Thursday and accused
the foundation of filing "frivolous lawsuits."
A spokeswoman for Abbott said it had signed a contract with
California exempting the state's MediCal program from the recent
"In fact, a representative from the Medical Services Branch has
testified to the California senate health budget sub committee
confirming no impact to MediCal," Abbott spokeswoman Laureen Cassidy
said. "Abbott complies with federal laws overseeing Medicaid."