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For Immediate Release
May 29, 2003
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
scaine@oag.state.md.us

CURRAN TO GIVE $300,000 TO ALZHEIMER'S ASSOCIATION

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., announced today that he will be giving a check for $300,000 to the Greater Maryland and National Capital Area chapters of the Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association, Inc. on Friday, May 30 at 10:30 a.m. at 1850 York Road, Suite D, in Timonium.

The money comes from a 2002 settlement of a lawsuit alleging a price-fixing scheme which resulted in price increases of over 2000 percent for two anti-anxiety drugs. The complaints (filed in 1998 by 33 states and the Federal Trade Commission) alleged that Mylan Laboratories, Inc. entered into exclusive contracts with all the suppliers of essential chemicals used in manufacturing lorazepam and clorazepate, thereby preventing other manufacturers of generic drugs from competing with it. The supply of the much more expensive branded drugs, Ativan and Tranxene, were not affected.

In 2002, the federal district court approved a $100 million national settlement. Last May, Maryland consumers received a total of $1,004,255 in amounts ranging from $200 to $2,000; state agencies received $445,255; and the Office of the Attorney General returned over $300,000 in costs and attorneys' fees to the General Fund. Although the Office was able to reimburse over 30 percent of eligible consumers, an unprecedented percentage, the consumer restitution fund had nearly $500,000 remaining for cy pres distribution in Maryland.

The $300,000 grant presented to the Alzheimer's Association will be used to present free programs to the public that describe the early warning signs of the disease and information about resources in the community; present orientation programs for those with a newly diagnosed family member; give day-long care-giver conferences regarding how to monitor medications and how to prepare for physician office visits; and provide specialized training for health care providers to enhance the quality of dementia care.

In the first year of the program, the Alzheimer's Association expects to present 150 free introductory education programs to the general public and train 2,000 family care-givers and 3,000 professional health care providers.

"Prescription drugs are expensive enough already, especially for seniors taking numerous medications and without drug insurance benefits," Attorney General Curran said. "We will not stand for any scheme that drives prices even higher. Just as we did in the case of Mylan, we will monitor the actions of other drug manufacturers to ensure that a fair marketplace exists for Maryland consumers."

Approximately 10 percent of the population develops Alzheimer's by age 65; the percentage climbs to 47 percent by age 85. In Maryland, approximately 85,000 people have the disease. As a result of the aging of the baby boomer population, that number is expected to climb to 130,000 in 25 years.

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