March 7, 2003
Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
OF PRESCRIPTION DRUG
ANTITRUST SUIT ANNOUNCED
Consumer Refunds Could Reach $200-$300
General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today a final settlement
in the federal antitrust suit brought against Bristol-Myers Squibb
Co., Watson Pharma, Inc. and Danbury Pharmacal, Inc. This suit involved
the widely prescribed, anti-anxiety drug BuSpar. Maryland, which
prosecuted the suit along with 34 other states, the District of
Columbia and Puerto Rico, alleged that Bristol and the other defendants
took steps in violation of the antitrust laws which prevented generic
BuSpar from coming to market. Maryland is filing papers with the
Court today seeking Preliminary Approval of the Settlement.
cost of prescription drugs is a major concern for millions of peopleespecially
the elderly," Attorney General Curran said. "This settlement
sends a strong message that law enforcement will not tolerate anti-competitive
practices in the marketplace and that consumers are fed up with
the unfairly high cost of prescription drugs"
a result of the settlement, following preliminary approval by the
Court, a nationwide consumer fund will be established and administered
by the plaintiff states. As currently contemplated, monies contributed
by the plaintiff states for this fund will be supplemented by monies
provided by the private end-payor class. The consumer fund will
provide recompense to consumers for the entire damages period allowed
by the Court (effectively, January 1, 1998 through January 31, 2003).
Upon providing proof of their buspirone purchases during the notice
period, consumers should receive full financial compensation for
their damages. Because BuSpar is a maintenance drug, this likely
will result in payments of $200-$300 for many consumers. Consumers
may seek information about the settlement by calling (800) 678-9587
or on line at www.busparsettlement.com
will also receive compensation for damages suffered by state and
local agencies as a result of the alleged anti-competitive conduct.
While the ultimate allocation among the litigating states has not
yet been determined, it is contemplated that more than $50 million
will be set aside to be divided among the various plaintiff states
settlement agreement also contains strong injunctive relief, which
will prevent Bristol from engaging in the future in the type of
conduct alleged in the complaint. Bristol is prevented from attempting
to re-list the patent at issue in the Orange Book. Bristol is further
prevented from attempting to list certain other types of patents
in the Orange Book, if they would unreasonably delay generic entry.
Additionally, Bristol is barred from making false statements or
misrepresentations to the FDA. Finally, Bristol is forbidden to
enter into agreements with generic drug manufacturers to settle
patent infringement suits, if the result of such an agreement would
potentially adversely affect competition. The injunction has a 10
year term. The proposed injunction was negotiated in coordination
with the FTC, with the FTC taking the lead in the negotiations.
Texas, and New York led a group including 35 other states, the District
of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, in the BuSpar litigation.