October 21, 2004
GENERAL CURRAN ANNOUNCES REMERON SETTLEMENT FOR CONSUMERS
Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. today announced completion
of a proposed $36 million nationwide settlement for consumers,
state purchasers, and other indirect purchasers with drug maker
Organon USA Inc. and its parent company Akzo Nobel N.V. over the
antidepressant drug, Remeron. A multi-state complaint and preliminary
settlement papers were filed in New Jersey federal court today.
Subject to court approval, Organon will pay monies that will bring
financial relief to state agencies and thousands of consumers.
A ten month state investigation led to this settlement, which was
joined by every U.S. state and territory. The settlement resolves
claims brought by state attorneys general, as well as a private
class action brought on behalf of a class of indirect purchasers.
"Affordable drug costs for consumers is one of this office's highest
priorities--that is why I established our drug-pricing website
earlier this year, and that is why we pursued these defendants.
Pharmaceutical companies that engage in what we contend is illegal
conduct that results in higher cost prescription drugs for the
State and for our citizens, will not be tolerated," said
The states’ complaint alleged that Organon misled the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration about the scope of a new "combination
therapy" patent it had obtained in order to extend its monopoly.
In addition, the complaint alleged that Organon delayed listing
the patent with the FDA in another effort to deter the availability
of lower-cost generic substitutes. This resulted in higher prices
to those who paid for the drug. With annual sales in excess of
$400 million at its peak, Remeron is Organon’s top-selling
Organon has also agreed to strong injunctive relief that will
require the company to make timely listing of patents and prohibits
Organon from submitting false or misleading listing information
to the FDA. Conduct undertaken by defendants that fails to comply
with the terms of the States' Injunction could lead to contempt
of court charges, regardless of whether the conduct was legal or
Maryland consumers will be among consumers nationwide who can submit
claims for reimbursement. If the court approves the settlement,
the Attorneys General will implement a claims administration
process for consumers who purchased Remeron or its generic equivalent
between June 15, 2001 and the present. Maryland will also receive
monies for damages incurred by certain governmental entities
that purchased Remeron or its generic equivalent.