Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced the second settlement in the last two years of a multi-state lawsuit filed against pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMS) for allegedly violating the federal antitrust statutes. Today's settlement, valued at more than $62 million, involves the cancer-fighting drug, Taxol and allegations that BMS unlawfully blocked the entry of less expensive, generic drugs into the marketplace.
Joined by 49 other states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. Territories and Commonwealths, the State of Oregon is seeking final approval of the settlement from U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in the District of Columbia.
"This is a significant victory for the State of Oregon and its residents," Myers said. "Consumers and government both overpaid for this drug during a downturn in the economy and will now be compensated."
Upon approval by the Court, Attorney General Myers will implement a claims administration process for consumers who purchased Taxol or its generic equivalent between January 1, 1999 and February 28, 2003. The Attorneys General have set aside more than $12 million for a nationwide distribution to consumers who may have paid higher prices for Taxol.
Although the final allocation among the states, territories and commonwealths has not yet been determined, they expect more than $37 million to be set aside and divided by certain government entities that purchased or paid for Taxol or its generic equivalent.
The settlement agreement includes the recovery of $55 million in cash, and a year's supply of Taxol, valued at approximately $7.6 million, to be provided through DEA-approved health care facilities. Recipients must meet certain eligibility requirements. The cash and product distribution is in addition to BMS's obligation not to discontinue its compassionate care program. The company also has agreed to ten years of strong injunctive relief to prevent future antitrust violations.
Consumers wanting information on the Attorney General's consumer protection program may call (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) and toll-free at 1-877-877-9392. Justice is online at www.doj.state.or.us.
Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) firstname.lastname@example.org