Oregon Department of Justice

Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum

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AG ANNOUNCES PLAN TO DISTRIBUTE BOOKS & CDs TO LIBRARIES/CANCER CENTERS USING BMS SETTLEMENT FUNDS

August 18, 2008

Attorney General Hardy Myers Announces To Distribute Books, CDs And Money Using Leftover Funds From A Settlement With Bristol-Myers Squibb Drug Company

A fund of more than $64,000 to benefit Oregon cancer victims and their families with additional information resources

Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced that beginning this week Oregon public libraries and cancer centers will receive books and CDs on complementary treatments for "integrative" cancer care as part of a program using more than $64,000 in residual funds from a $62.5 multi-state antitrust settlement with Bristol-Myers Squibb.

The Oregon Department of Justice wrote libraries and cancer centers throughout the state offering information resources on complementary treatments for cancer. The list of books being provided was compiled with the help of an expert in the field. Some 87 libraries and cancer centers replied asking for the materials. Those and others also will receive cash grants when this distribution is completed.

Cancer treatment centers requesting materials that were mailed this week include Bartels Community Resource Library/Rogue Valley Medical Center, Providence Cancer Center, Rogue Valley Medical Center/Dubs Cancer Center, St. Charles Cancer Treatment Center, Three Rivers Community Hospital/Spring Village Health Library, Legacy Cancer Services, and the Oregon Health and Sciences University.

The agreement ended allegations in a 2003 lawsuit that BMS violated federal and state antitrust laws by monopolizing the market to maximize profits from the sale of the cancer-fighting drug, Taxol. Oregon was joined by 29 other states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in filing the lawsuit.

"Oregon cancer patients and their families paid significantly higher prices for the life-saving drug Taxol because BMS acted illegally to keep the cheaper, generic version of Taxol off the market," Myers said. "It was important during all phases of disbursing settlement monies that an estimated 400,000 cancer patients who purchased Taxol be recognized as victims and be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses or with services."

"Oregonians diagnosed with cancer should be able to conserve their energy for fighting the disease and not have to worry about being overcharged for their medications," Myers added.

"With more than $62 million being realized in the settlement agreement, the states were able to not only reimburse individual victims but several state agencies," Myers explained. The agreement also covered attorney fees for all the states.

From the 2006 settlement, after direct reimbursement of all victims who could be identified, approximately $640,000 was set aside for national grants. Oregon joined seven other states to form a Working Group to qualify and recommend prospective grantees. Two equal grants were awarded to CancerCare, Inc. and the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition.

In 2007, an additional $64,000 was left to "benefit cancer victims and their families" and the books and CDs being shipped this week were purchased with this money. "We found that resources on conventional or mainstream treatments for cancer were plentiful and readily available, but there appeared to be a need for additional reliable information on complementary, also known as integrative, cancer care," Myers explained. Lists of the books and CDs being provided and additional information resources for cancer patients are being posted on the Department's website at www.doj.state.or.us.

Consumers wanting more information about this case and other Oregon consumer protection issues may contact 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.

Contact:

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