Thousands of Oregon consumers may be entitled to a cash recovery of their out-of-pocket expenses from purchasing the prescription antidepressant drug Remeron© and its generic Mirtazapine between June 15, 2001 and January 25, 2005 as a result of a $36 million, multi-state settlement with drug maker Organon USA Inc. and its parent company Akzo Nobel N.V. for improperly monopolizing the U.S. market for the drugs. Oregon joined Texas and Florida as lead states in the filing of a complaint and preliminary settlement in October 2004. All 50 states and US Territories eventually joined the multi-state action.
"These drug manufacturers manipulated regulations in order to stifle competition in the marketplace, resulting in higher prescription costs for our seniors, the largest group of Remeron-users," Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers said. "Thousands of consumers, 55 years of age and older, had to pay more money at the drug store because they had no access to low cost, generic equivalents of this drug."
The states' lawsuit alleged that Organon unlawfully extended its monopoly by improperly listing a new "combination therapy" patent with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In addition, the complaint alleged that Organon delayed listing the patent with the FDA in another effort to delay the availability of lower-cost generic substitutes. This resulted in higher prices to those who paid for the drug. According to Organon, Remeron, at its peak, was the company's top-selling drug with annual sales in excess of $400 million.
As part of a nationwide consumer notification program, Myers today joined other Attorneys General in launching a campaign to notify consumers of possible refunds through advertising in publications such a Readers Digest, Parade and USA Today. As part of that same effort, Myers has enlisted Oregon pharmacists and psychiatrists for assistance in notifying their patients of the refund program. Recovery also will benefit third-party payors such as employer benefit managers and insurance companies.
The court-approved settlement resolves both claims brought by state attorneys general, as well as a private class action brought on behalf of a class of end payors. Complete Claim Solutions, Inc. of West Palm Beach, Florida is assisting the states as the claims administrator for the settlement.
Consumers must file claim forms with the administrator postmarked no later than June 13, 2005 in order to be eligible for a possible refund. The address is Remeron Antitrust Settlement, c/o Complete Claim Solutions, Inc., P.O. Box 24769, West Palm Beach, Florida 33416. The same deadline applies to consumers completing the form online at www.RemeronSettlement.com. Consumers wanting claim forms, a copy of the full notice or more information about the refund program may call toll-free at 1-866-401-6807 or visit the settlement website at www.RemeronSettlement.com.
Affected consumers who do not wish to participate in the settlement must exclude themselves in writing on or before April 27, 2005, or they will be bound by the rulings of the court in this case. Information on "opting-out" of the settlement also is available at the settlement website or by calling the toll-free number.
Oregon consumers wanting more information 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.
Learn more by calling a toll-free claims line at 1-866-401-6807 or visiting the settlement website at http://www.RemeronSettlement.com
Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) firstname.lastname@example.org