China lashed out on Tuesday at a US court that ordered two Chinese pharmaceutical companies to pay $162 million for price-fixing in the US market, saying the ruling infringed its sovereignty. A federal court in New York last week ordered the North China Pharmaceutical Group Corp (NCPC) and one of its affiliates to pay the huge sums after a jury found they had fixed prices on vitamin C exports to the US, Dow Jones Newswires reported. The case was brought by US firms which alleged that Chinese vitamin C makers formed an illegal price-fixing cartel, increasing prices significantly and costing consumers tens of millions of dollars from 2001. The jury awarded $54 million in damages, which the judge tripled to $162 million as it was an antitrust violation, Dow Jones reported. It was the first time Chinese companies had faced such court action in the United States. Shen Danyang, a spokesman for China\'s Ministry of Commerce, said the Chinese firms were acting in compliance with Chinese laws at the time and branded the ruling as \"unfair and improper\".