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Drug company settlement means $650,000 for NH

CONCORD - New Hampshire patients who purchased the wakefulness drug Provigil and the state will share more than $650,000 as part of a settlement over anticompetitive practices from the drug's maker, the drug company Cephalon, authorities said.

Attorney General Joseph Foster said the money is part of a $125 million settlement between Cephalon and 49 state attorneys general.

Provigil is prescribed to promote wakefulness and is used to treat certain sleep disorders.

Foster said the settlement addresses allegations that Cephalon defrauded the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to secure an additional patent on Provigil as the existing patent was nearing its expiration.

Cephalon was able to stretch out its patent for nearly six years, keeping generic competitors at bay. In 2005 and 2006, Cephalon settled lawsuits brought by those competitors, Foster said.

Of the New Hampshire settlement announced Thursday, about $167,000 will go to New Hampshire consumers and $485,000 will go to the state.

Foster said the amounts could be supplemented depending on a class action suit filed against Cephalon.

The settlement between the company and the states still must be approved by a federal judge.

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