Idaho, Kentucky and 21 other US states have penalised Japanese pharmaceutical firm Teikoku Seiyaku and its subsidiary Teikoku Pharma USA over anti-competitive practices.

Teikoku allegedly participated in an agreement to protect monopoly on Lidoderm, the brand name for lidocaine patches indicated for pain relief associated with a common complication of the shingles virus.

The states have reached a 20-year agreement that prohibits both the parent firm and its subsidiary from ‘paying or incentivising’ any generic medicines manufacturer to delay commercialisation in the drug market.

In addition, the agreement prevents Teikoku from carrying out research, development, manufacturing, marketing or selling of pharmaceutical products over the 20-year duration.

“This settlement agreement provides a great mechanism for the states to bring enforcement actions in the future.”

Idaho attorney general Lawrence Wasden said: “When a company tries to fix the system to its advantage, consumers suffer the consequences, which can often include fewer and less affordable choices available for treatment.

“This settlement agreement provides a great mechanism for the states to bring enforcement actions in the future.”

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As part of the agreement, Teikoku also agreed to cooperate in an ongoing investigation into such conduct by other drug makers.

Kentucky attorney general Andy Beshear said: “We work to hold accountable any company that tries to place profits above the people of Kentucky.

“In stopping this company’s pay-for-delay tactics and sanctioning their illegal conduct, we are ensuring Kentucky families are not being taken advantage of and have a choice in their treatment options.”