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For Immediate Release
March 17, 2005
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357

CURRAN LAUNCHES NOTIFICATION PROGRAM TO USERS OF ANTIDEPRESSANT DRUG REMERON

$36 MILLION NATIONAL SETTLEMENT MAY PROVIDE FINANCIAL RELIEF TO THOUSANDS OF CONSUMERS AND STATE PURCHASERS


Thousands of consumers from all 50 states, commonwealths and territories may be entitled to a cash recovery based on their out-of-pocket expenses from purchasing the prescription antidepressant drug Remeron and its generic equivalent, Mirtazapine, between June 15, 2001 and January 25, 2005 as a result of a $36 million nationwide settlement with drug maker Organon USA Inc. and its parent company Akzo Nobel N.V. for improperly monopolizing the U.S. market for the drugs. The settlement is subject to court approval before it can become final. "The defendants in this case abused the regulatory scheme to stifle competition and prevent consumers from having access to low-cost, generic equivalents of this drug, "Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. said. "Obtaining this settlement represented a way for Maryland to help lower prescription drug costs for its consumers."

The states’ lawsuit alleged that Organon unlawfully extended its monopoly by improperly listing a new "combination therapy" patent with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In addition, the complaint alleged that Organon delayed listing the patent with the FDA in another effort to delay the availability of lower-cost generic substitutes. This resulted in higher prices to those who paid for the drug. Remeron, at its peak, was the Organon’s top-selling drug with annual sales in excess of $400 million.

As part of a nationwide consumer notification program, Attorneys General today launched a campaign to notify consumers of the settlement and claims process through advertising in publications such a Readers Digest, Parade and USA Today. As part of that same effort, the states also have enlisted pharmacists and psychiatrists for notification assistance.

Maryland also will be among states receiving monies for damages incurred by certain governmental entities, such as Medicaid, that paid for Remeron or its generic equivalent. Recovery is also available for third-party payors, such as health insurance plans.

The settlement, if ultimately approved by the court, will resolve both claims brought by state attorneys general, as well as a private class action brought on behalf of a class of end payors. Complete Claim Solutions, Inc. of West Palm Beach, Florida is assisting the States as the claims administrator for the settlement.

Consumers wanting claim forms and more information about the settlement may call toll-free at 1-866-401-6807 or visit the settlement website at www.RemeronSettlement.com. Eligible consumers must file claim forms with the administrator postmarked no later than June 13, 2005 in order to be eligible for a possible refund. The address is Remeron Antitrust Settlement, c/o Complete Claim Solutions, Inc., P.O. Box 24769, West Palm Beach, Florida 33416. The same deadline applies to consumers completing the form online www.RemeronSettlement.com. Affected consumers who do not wish to remain part of the settlement class must exclude themselves in writing on or before April 27, 2005. Information on "opting-out" of the settlement also is available at the settlement website or by calling the toll-free number.

Maryland consumers wanting more information may call the Attorney General’s Office at (410) 576-6470.


 

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