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Lawsuit by 44 states accuses pharma giants of ‘multi-year conspiracy’ to hike drug prices over 1,000 percent

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A far-reaching lawsuit filed Friday by the attorneys general of more than 40 states accused some of the nation’s largest generic drug manufacturers of conspiring to inflate prices, in some cases by over 1,000 percent.

“We have hard evidence that shows the generic drug industry perpetrated a multi-billion dollar fraud on the American people,” Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, whose state led the probe into the companies’ practices, said in a statement.

“We have emails, text messages, telephone records, and former company insiders that we believe will prove a multi-year conspiracy to fix prices and divide market share for huge numbers of generic drugs,” said Tong.

The suit names 20 major drug manufacturers—including Pfizer, Teva, Novartis, and Mylan—as well as more than a dozen senior executives, who the complaint accuses of deleting evidence after the states began their investigation in 2014.

“The industrywide scheme affected the prices of more than 100 generic drugs,” the New York Times reported Saturday, “including lamivudine-zidovudine, which treats H.I.V.; budesonide, an asthma medication; fenofibrate, which treats high cholesterol; amphetamine-dextroamphetamine for ADHD.; oral antibiotics; blood thinners; cancer drugs; contraceptives; and antidepressants.”

Americans pay far more for prescription drugs than the people of any other industrialized nation. Alluding to this fact, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser—who joined the multi-state lawsuit—tweeted on Saturday: “If you are angry about rising drug prices, you should be. Particularly because a major cause of price increases is illegal collusion by generic drug companies.”

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As the Washington Post reported, the 465-page lawsuit accuses drug company executives of “coordinating consistently to obstruct” government investigations into drug prices, including after Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) launched a probe into generic drug pricing in 2014.

“Apparently unsatisfied with the status quo of ‘fair share’ and the mere avoidance of price erosion, Teva and its co-conspirators embarked on one of the most egregious and damaging price-fixing conspiracies in the history of the United States,” states the complaint.

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Sailing among the stars: Here’s how photons could revolutionize space flight

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A few days from now, a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will lift off from Florida, carrying a satellite the size of a loaf of bread with nothing to power it but a huge polyester "solar sail."

It's been the stuff of scientists' dreams for decades but has only very recently become a reality.

The idea might sounds crazy: propelling a craft through the vacuum of space with no engine, no fuel, and no solar panels, but instead harnessing the momentum of packets of light energy known as photons -- in this case from our Sun.

The spacecraft to be launched on Monday, called LightSail 2, was developed by the Planetary Society, a US organization that promotes space exploration which was co-founded by the legendary astronomer Carl Sagan in 1980.

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Russians to prod Putin on poverty and his personal life as his ratings tank

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Russians are set to ask President Vladimir Putin about growing poverty at home and tensions abroad during an annual televised phone-in Thursday, which comes following a fall in his approval ratings.

The leader is also likely to face a degree of grilling on his personal life, according to questions submitted by the public online ahead of the live show.

Set to be held for the 17th time since Putin came to power in 1999, the show starts at 0900 GMT and usually lasts several hours.

Ahead of the carefully choreographed show, more than one million questions had been submitted, organisers told Russian news agencies.

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Trump could turn on Hope Hicks just like Michael Cohen: Trump family biographer warns

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Trump family biographer Emily Jane Fox explained that she didn't think that the president would turn on long-time aide Hope Hicks, but then again, it was the same thought about Michael Cohen as well.

In a panel discussion about Hicks' testimony during MSNBC's Brian Williams' Wednesday show, Fox recalled that Micahel Cohen once said that he would take a bullet for the president. Once it appeared that Trump would throw him under the bus, Cohen began looking for a way out.

The same scenario seems to be happening with Hicks now.

"She works at new Fox, which is a company run by a Murdoch son," Fox said. "It's a company that's brand new. She's the head of communications there. And there are shareholders who would take issue with the fact that a senior member of this company is being put in this situation and being thrust on the world stage."

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