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Maryland to receive $2.9 million in Cephalon settlement

Maryland will receive $2.9 million as part of a multi-state settlement of claims that drugmaker Cephalon Inc. illegally blocked lower-cost alternatives to its popular wakefulness drug.

Maryland is among 48 states that will share a total of $125 million under the settlement, announced Thursday by Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh.

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The states' lawsuit alleged that Cephalon, worried about losing profits when the patent on its anti-sleep drug, Provigil, expired in 2006, sought to prevent other manufacturers from releasing generic versions of the drug.

Provigil is used to improve wakefulness among adults with sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea and narcolepsy.

In advance of Provigil's patent expiration, Cephalon secured an additional patent for the drug. Though a court eventually invalidated the new patent, Cephalon in the meantime used it to sue generic manufacturers for patent infringement.

Cephalon's lawsuits delayed generics of Provigil from becoming available and, as a result, people paid higher prices for Cephalon's brand of the drug than they would have had generic versions become available on schedule.

The money for states comes from a $1.2 billion settlement between Cephalon and the Federal Trade Commission in 2015.

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