By JAMES RICKARD,Associated PressAUSTIN (AP) — It’s a legal tactic, a legal strategy and a legal cost for Texas health care companies.
It’s the latest in a series of actions by pharmaceutical companies to take legal action against Texas for limiting competition and forcing them to raise prices.
The state of Texas has argued in federal court that pharmaceutical companies have violated its antitrust laws by blocking access to generic versions of generic drugs.
The lawsuits say the patent trolling is a blatant violation of state antitrust laws.
Patent trolls often target smaller drug companies who are trying to compete with the biggest names in the industry, according to court documents.
The companies, sometimes with the help of outside lawyers, file lawsuits in court to try to silence them and get them to settle.
The companies are able to use the tactic because they are able, for a fee, to settle out of court, said John F. Murphy, a professor at George Mason University Law School.
In some cases, it can be the biggest settlement in the drug industry, he said.
The lawsuit was filed last month in U.S. District Court in Austin by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas Farm Bureau.
The FTC and the Farm Bureau sued the companies on behalf of health care providers in Texas.
It said the companies have targeted Texas for years, suing in federal courts and in state court for a variety of patent issues.
Texas has a long history of patent trolling.
The state has tried to get Pfizer and AstraZeneca to settle patents and other lawsuits brought against them in the 1970s and 1980s.
The drug companies settled with Texas in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
The Texas health system sued in 2016 to stop the filing of a patent troll lawsuit filed by Astra Zeneca in Texas in the late 1990s.
Astra was ordered to pay $1.5 billion.
Texas also sued Pfizer in 2010 to stop Astra from filing a patent infringement lawsuit in the state.
The case was settled in 2015.