Consumers who were treated with the drug at any time from January 1, 1999,
through February 28, 2003, may file a claim for a cash recovery if they
paid all or some part of the costs out of pocket for the drug treatment.
Claims must be postmarked by November 14, 2003 [UPDATE: The judge EXTENDED
THE DEADLINE to February 29, 2004.] Claim forms and complete information
can be obtained at www.taxolsettlement.com
or by calling 1-800-659-7609.
Consumers nationwide will be notified about the reimbursement program
through advertising and partnerships with cancer support and education
organizations. The court-approved consumer notification program was launched
by state attorney general offices.
A multi-state lawsuit alleged that manufacturer Bristol-Myers Squibb used fraudulent
means to delay the entry of lower-priced generic versions of Taxol, thereby
illegally inflating the cost of chemotherapy for thousands of patients.
The states have brought similar action in other cases.
"Drug prices usually drop significantly when generic drugs become available," Miller
said. "We strongly encourage cancer patients treated with Taxol or its equivalent to
look into filing a claim," he said.
"When companies thwart generic drugs, it harms both consumers and taxpayers,
who often pay for prescription drugs subsidized or paid-for by government
programs," Miller said.
The reimbursement program is part of an approximately $62.5 million settlement
of the antitrust suit brought by the attorneys general of all 50 states,
the U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
The states estimated that as many as 400,000 cancer patients could be affected
by the case. The settlement provides approximately $12.5 million to reimburse
them (or their legal representative if a Taxol/paclitaxel user died) some
portion of what they paid for the drug, or to reimburse insured patients
for out-of-pocket costs not paid for by insurers. Individual consumers
could see claims in the range of $400 to $2,600.
Taxol® is Bristol-Myers
Squibb's brand name for the cancer drug paclitaxel (also marketed as Onxol®),
which is used primarily to treat breast and ovarian cancers, along with
certain lung cancers and Kaposi's Sarcoma.
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women, with more than
211,000 new diagnoses each year. Ovarian cancer is the sixth most common cancer
among women, with more than 25,000 new cases each year.
Affected consumers who do not wish to participate in the proposed settlement
must exclude themselves in writing by October 1, 2003, or they will be
bound by the rulings of the court in this case. More information can be
found at the www.taxolsettlement.com
or by calling 1-800-659-7609.
Other similar cases: Miller said the Taxol reimbursement program is similar
to others launched recently by the states. In June, the states announced
the claim process for users of "BuSpar," an anti-anxiety drug. The claim-filing
deadline on BuSpar is October 10. The claim administrator's web site is
The toll-free number is 1-800-678-9587. Miller said the States will be
calling attention to other claims cases in the near future. Information
on all the claim procedures is available from www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.org,
the AG's web site.
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