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For Immediate Release
June 18, 2003
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
scaine@oag.state.md.us

ANXIETY SUFFERERS, OTHERS TAKING BUSPAR® MAY BENEFIT FROM MAJOR CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., announced today that patients suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder and others who took the medication BuSpar® over the last eight years are included in a proposed multi-million dollar settlement of a nationwide antitrust class action lawsuit brought by the Attorneys General of all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A nationwide effort to contact Buspar® consumers was launched today.

Claims must be filed by October 10, 2003. Affected Buspar® consumers who do not wish to participate in the settlement, must exclude themselves in writing by October 10, 2003. Claim forms and complete information can be obtained at www.busparsettlement.com or by calling 1-800-678-9587.

The lawsuit contends that Bristol-Myers Squibb, makers of BuSpar® or buspirone hydrochloride, engaged in fraudulent conduct and conspired with a potential competitor to prevent the entry of generic competitors and illegally maintain its monopoly in the U.S. over the sale of the drugs. Defendants have denied any wrongdoing or liability.

BuSpar® is a brand-name prescription medication used to treat patients suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately four million Americans nationwide suffer from GAD each year. BuSpar® is also used to treat other anxiety disorders, as well as Alzheimer’s Disease.

"Our goal in pursuing this case has always been to make sure consumers can benefit from the substantial cost savings that generic versions of the same drug can provide," Attorney General Curran said. "We urge consumers who may have been affected to learn more about their rights under this settlement."

The settlement provides approximately $41.7 million to reimburse consumers some portion of alleged overcharges they may have incurred from purchasing BuSpar® or buspirone HCI. Reimbursements will be made only for purchases from January 1, 1998 through January 31, 2003. For the uninsured, reimbursement could include compensation for a portion of the out-of-pocket expense of purchasing BuSpar®. Proof of purchase or other documented history of pharmaceutical purchases will need to be provided in order to file a claim.

Generic alternatives would make a significant difference in the cost of GAD treatment for many consumers. A recent study found that an average 30-day supply of brand name BuSpar® could cost approximately $141.80 while its generic version would cost $48.46, a savings of $93.34 a month. For insured claimants, reimbursement may include some portion of co-payments, which are often higher for brand-name drugs than for generic alternatives.

For additional information, consumers should call 1-800-678-9587 or visit www.busparsettlement.com.

 

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