For press inquiries or to schedule an interview with the Attorney General please contact:
503-378-6002 or Kristina.Edmunson@doj.state.or.us
About Ellen F. Rosenblum
Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced that 541 Oregonians, who took the popular anti-anxiety drug BuSpar and submitted valid claims, will receive checks this week as part of a $41 million settlement with Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMS) of an antitrust lawsuit brought by the Attorneys General of 34 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Oregon consumers will divide more than $461,000 in restitution with an average payment of $646 per victim.
The 2001 multi-state action filed in U.S. District Court of New York alleged that BMS engaged in fraudulent conduct and conspired with a potential competitor to prevent the entry of generic competitors and made false statements to a federal agency concerning its new patent of BuSpar in order to prevent manufacturers of generic drugs from marketing it. The case was settled in 2003.
"The unlawful actions by BMS in the marketing of this medication adversely affected Oregon's elderly and agencies that serve them," Myers said. "Patients should never be put in the position of having to choose between taking a much needed medication or paying for other essential items such as food and electricity."
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 4 million Americans nationwide suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) each year and BuSpar is used to treat GAD along with other anxiety disorders as well as Alzheimer's disease.
Deadline for filing claims with the settlement administrator was October 2003. Reimbursements were made only for purchases from January 1, 1998 through January 31, 2003.
Consumers wanting more information about the settlement may contact the national administrator at 1-800-678-9587 or online at www.busparsettlement.com. The Attorney General's consumer hotline can be reached by calling (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392. Oregon Justice is online at www.doj.state.or.us.
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