March 17, 2005
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
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
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
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.
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
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
Maryland consumers wanting more information may call the Attorney
General’s Office at (410) 576-6470.