In conjunction with attorneys general from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Attorney General Thurbert Baker announced today that U.S. District Court Judge Thomas F. Hogan has preliminarily approved a $100 million national settlement of an antitrust lawsuit with pharmaceutical giant Mylan Laboratories.
“With the judge’s approval we can begin the process of notifying the individuals and taxpayers we believe were victimized,” Attorney General Baker said. “This settlement returns funds to consumers harmed by these illegal pharmaceutical pricing practices.”
The lawsuit accused Mylan and others in 1998 of orchestrating an illegal price increase of more than 2,000 percent for the generic drugs lorazepam and clorazepate, both used to treat Alzheimer’s disease and anxiety. This spike in pharmaceutical prices helped lead to a 0.2 percent increase in the May 1998 national Producer Price Index, which the federal government uses to monitor national economic health. Under terms of the settlement, $72 million will be made available for distribution to individual consumers injured by the price increases. Consumers who purchased lorazepam or clorazepate from Jan. 1, 1998 through Dec. 31, 1999, and were not reimbursed by any type of insurance, may be entitled to make a claim for a refund check for a portion of their purchases.
Other defendants in the lawsuit and settlement include New Jersey-based Cambrex Corporation and its wholly owned subsidiary, Profarmaco S.r.l., an Italian pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturer, New York-based drug distributor Gyma Laboratories of America Inc., and New Jersey-based SST Corporation.
Also, in an effort to restore a competitive balance to the pharmaceutical market, Judge Hogan approved an injunction under which Mylan has agreed to certain restrictions in its future supplier agreements.
The consumer claims period will begin on June 1, 2001, and will run for 120 days, until Sept. 29, 2001. Georgia consumers who submit valid claims will receive refund checks after the Court grants final approval to the settlement, which may occur as early as January 2002. Consumers can obtain claim forms and more detailed information about the settlement and their legal rights by calling toll free at 1-800-899-5806, or online at www.agsettlement.com.
The remaining $28 million in settlement funds will be earmarked for reimbursement to state agencies damaged by the price increases. Georgia is expected to receive $ 73,661.24 to reimburse certain state agencies according to the terms of a formula agreed to by the states.