RX For Nosebleed Prices

Washington goes after drug companies and their tricks that keep generic remedies out of the hands of cost-conscious consumers

Of all the wonder drugs in today's medical arsenal, the heartburn treatment Prilosec has long been the most successful. The stomach soother reaped an astonishing $6.2 billion in sales last year to make it the best-selling prescription drug ever--a title Prilosec stands to lose when its patent expires in October. But if the drug's maker, British firm AstraZeneca, behaves like many of its counterparts in the industry, it won't easily relinquish its monopoly. Indeed, sources confirmed to TIME that the Federal Trade Commission has quietly launched an investigation into whether AstraZeneca illegally blocked generic competition to protect its Prilosec franchise. A...

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