June 4, 2002
Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
SUE MAKER OF BREAST CANCER DRUG
SUIT FILED TO PROTECT PATIENTS, STATE DOLLARS
General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today the filing of an antitrust
lawsuit charging that pharmaceutical manufacturer Bristol-Myers
Squibb, Inc. monopolized the market to maximize profits from the
sale of the cancer fighting drug, Taxol®. Maryland, Ohio and
Florida are leading a group of 32 other states, the District of
Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in the multistate action
that accuses Bristol of acting illegally to keep the cheaper, generic
version of Taxol® off the market. As a result, cancer patients
and others were forced to pay significantly higher prices for the
1992, the Food and Drug Administration gave Bristol five years of
exclusive marketing rights for Taxol®. Paclitaxel, the pharmaceutical
ingredient in Taxol® was initially discovered by the National
Cancer Institute, and was developed and tested by the NCI at taxpayer
expense. Paclitaxel is used in the treatment of ovarian, breast,
and a variety of other cancers. In 1993, the company told a congressional
committee that paclitaxel was not patentable, and that "near-term
generic competition for Taxol® is a certainty".
lawsuit alleges that Bristol knowingly manipulated the U. S. Patent
and Trademark Office process by fraudulently securing patents that
had no legal validity. These actions prevented generic drug manufacturers
from entering the marketplace until 2000. As a result, hospitals,
cancer patients, and states were forced to pay nearly a third more
for Taxol® treatments.
sales of Taxol® have totaled at least $5.4 billion since 1998.
A standard course of treatment using the name brand drug can cost
from $6,000 to $10,000 per patient.
recent years, Attorneys General throughout the country have individually
or collectively taken action against illegal marketplace manipulation,
improper patent monopolization, and wholesale price fixing, which
all resulted in higher prices for consumers. Recently, a number
of the Attorneys General joined together to form a Pharmaceutical
Pricing Task Force that will seek to monitor the broad range of
issues regarding pharmaceutical pricing and will help with current
and future lawsuits.
action was filed in the United States District Court for the District
of Columbia. The suit seeks injunctive relief and monetary damages.
Maryland filed the action with: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas,
California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas,
Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Carolina,
Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina,
Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, the District of Columbia,
the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
sales of Taxol (in millions) by year beginning in 1998: