Oregon Department of Justice

Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum

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AG Myers Announces $80 Million Settlement With Two Pharmaceutical Giants

January 27, 2003

Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced the filing of a proposed $80 million settlement concerning the popular heart medication Cardizem CD. If approved by the U.S. Federal District Court, the multi-state agreement will resolve an antitrust lawsuit filed by a group of attorneys general against Aventis Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Parsippany, NJ and Andrx Corporation of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The 2001 lawsuit alleged that Aventis and Andrx illegally agreed that Andrx would not enter the market with a less expensive generic version of the drug Cardizem CD. In return, Aventis paid Andrx $89 million.

"The plot to delay bringing the generic drug to market resulted in higher prices for consumers and governmental agencies," Myers said. "Oregon's antitrust laws were created to protect its citizens against this type of unlawful conduct and our office will not tolerate the pharmaceutical giants that willfully ignore them."

Under today's settlement, Aventis and Andrx must pay a total of $80 million into a fund that will compensate consumers, state government agencies, and insurance companies, who between 1998 and January 2003, overpaid for Cardizem CD and its generic equivalents. In addition to today's settlement, the two drug companies paid $110 million to a group of drug wholesalers in an agreement involving the same alleged violations. In total, the defendants are required to pay more than $190 million.

If the court approves the proposed settlement, Attorney General Myers explained that a national claims administration process will be implemented this summer for consumers who purchased Cardizem CD or its generic equivalent between January 1998 and January 2003.

Oregon victims would be eligible for approximately $250,000 in reimbursement if calculated on a population basis. Actual payments will depend on amount of usage and claims filed. Oregonians and others who directly paid for the drugs may be eligible for up to $400 payments. Others who only made co-payments would receive less.

In addition, the agreement includes $20,000 for the Oregon Medical Assistance Plan (OMAP), the state's Medicaid agency, toward reimbursement for its purchases of the drugs.

Consumers wanting more information about the settlement may call the Attorney General's consumer hotline at (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392. Justice is online at www.doj.state.or.us.


Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) jan.margosian@doj.state.or.us |
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