Long-standing dispute over money owed the MSA ends; Oregon to receive $615,000
Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced the State of Oregon will receive $615,000 under a $55.4 million settlement reached with House of Prince A/S and Scandinavian Tobacco, S.I.A. to resolve a dispute over enforcement of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA).
The MSA requires tobacco manufacturers that signed the agreement to make annual payments to the states, in part to compensate the states for billions of dollars in health care costs associated with treating tobacco-related diseases under state Medicaid programs. House of Prince is a Participating Manufacturer under the MSA, and Scandinavian Tobacco is an affiliated entity.
"Settlement of this long-standing dispute with a participating manufacturer under the MSA provides our state with money it is owed and maintains the integrity of this historical accord between the states and manufacturers of tobacco products," Myers said. "As advocates for the public interest, we believe it is important to enforce all provisions of the MSA to help reduce tobacco use and protect consumers from its deadly consequences."
The settlement resolved a three -year court dispute over whether cigarettes manufactured by Scandinavian Tobacco and sold in the United States from 1999-2003 were subject to the MSA's payment requirements and other obligations. No cigarettes manufactured by Scandinavian Tobacco have been sold in the United States since 2003.
The State of California filed a lawsuit in February 2003 to force House of Prince to make MSA payments for Scandinavian Tobacco's cigarettes. Assisted by other states,California won preliminary legal skirmishes. House of Prince subsequently entered settlement discussions that produced a national agreement with all jurisdictions that signed the MSA –Oregon and 45 other states, four territories, Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.
Aside from its payment provisions, the MSA created a broad array of restrictions on the advertising, marketing and promotion of cigarettes. For example, it prohibits the targeting of youth in cigarette advertising. It also restricts outdoor advertising of cigarettes, the advertising of cigarettes in public transit facilities, and the use of cigarette brand names on merchandise, among other limitations.
Consumers wanting more information on other cases involving tobacco manufacturers and consumer protection in Oregon 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. The Oregon Department of Justice is online at www.doj.state.or.us.
Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) firstname.lastname@example.org