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For Immediate Release
January 27, 2003
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357

CURRAN ANNOUNCES $80 MILLION SETTLEMENT WITH
MAKERS OF POPULAR HEART MEDICATION–CARDIZEM

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced a proposed settlement today for $80 million involving the popular heart medication Cardizem CD. The 50-state settlement resolves an antitrust lawsuit filed by Maryland and the other State Attorneys General against Aventis Pharmaceuticals Inc., Andrx Corporation and affiliated entities.

The Attorney General’s office alleged that Aventis and Andrx illegally agreed that Andrx would not bring a less expensive generic version of the one-a-day drug Cardizem CD to market in return for Aventis paying Andrx nearly $90 million. Delays in bringing the generic drug to market, the lawsuit alleged, resulted in higher prices for heart patients.

"Today’s settlement should serve as a warning to the big prescription drug companies," Attorney General Curran stated. "If you illegally conspire to keep less expensive medications out of the hands of consumers, you will be challenged in Maryland."

Under the settlement, Aventis and Andrx must pay $80 million into a fund that will compensate consumers, state agencies, and insurance companies who overpaid for Cardizem CD and its generic equivalents between 1998 and January 2003. It is estimated that Maryland purchasers of Cardizem are entitled to approximately $400,000 in payments as a result of the overcharges. In addition, the Maryland Medicaid Agency will receive a payment of $20,000. This settlement is in addition to a $110 million settlement reached earlier between the companies and drug wholesalers involving the same alleged violations. In total, the drug companies will be required to pay over $190 million.

The proposed settlement was filed today with U.S. Federal District Court Judge Nancy Edmunds in Detroit and requires approval from the court to become effective. If approved, Attorney General Curran will implement a claims administration process this summer for consumers who purchased Cardizem CD or its generic equivalent at any time between January of 1998 and January 2003.


Update: Consumers may file claims at the Cardizem settlement website: www.cardizemsettlement.com or call toll-free 1-800-372-2406. Claims filing deadline is Sept. 23, 2003.

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