For immediate release -- Friday, March 7, 2003.
Contact Bob Brammer -- 515-281-6699.
States Ask Court to Approve "BuSpar" Antitrust
Consumer refunds expected to be about $200-300 for many consumers.
Web site and toll-free number established for consumer information.
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and other states filed formal settlement documents Friday in an antitrust suit brought
against Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Watson Pharma, Inc. and Danbury Pharmacal, Inc. The suit involved Bristol-Myers'
widely prescribed drug called "BuSpar," a medication for treating patients suffering from generalized anxiety disorder.
Iowa is among 35 states (plus DC and PR) that alleged Bristol-Myers and the other defendants violated antitrust laws in
action they took to prevent a generic version of BuSpar from coming to market. The states are filing papers with the
Federal District Court in New York today seeking preliminary approval of the settlement.
"Drug prices usually drop significantly when generic drugs become available," Miller said. "Thwarting generic drugs
illegally harms both consumers and taxpayers, who often pay for prescription drugs subsidized or paid-for by government
If the Court approves the settlement as anticipated, a nationwide consumer
fund will be established and administered by the Plaintiff States. The
consumer fund will provide compensation to consumers for damages during
the period from January 1, 1998, through January 31, 2003. States said
refunds likely will amount to payments of $200-$300 for many consumers.
Miller said a detailed notice and claims process will begin after the Court
gives preliminary approval to the settlement. He said consumers already
can register to receive more information about the claim process when
it is established in the weeks ahead. The web site is www.busparsettlement.com,
and the toll-free telephone number is 1-800-678-9587.
Consumers will need to provide proof of BuSpar purchases during the notice
period. Miller said Iowa pharmacists have been instrumental in assisting
consumers with such information for prior prescription drug case claims
programs. "Iowa pharmacists have helped their patients recover hundreds
of thousands of dollars," he said.
He said his office will work hard to alert consumers about the claims process
when it is established.
Miller said the State of Iowa also will receive significant monies under the
proposed settlement as compensation for damages suffered by public agencies
as a result of the alleged anti-competitive conduct. The allocation among
the states has not been determined, but it is contemplated that more than
$50 million will be set aside to be divided among the various Plaintiff
The States alleged that Bristol-Myers Squibb engaged in fraud to unlawfully maintain its monopoly and exclusive hold on
the market for BuSpar. States alleged the company made false statements to the Food & Drug Administration about its
patents in an effort to stop competitors from selling cheaper generic alternatives and unlawfully maintain its monopoly.
The settlement agreement also contains strong injunctive relief to prevent
the alleged illegal activity by Bristol-Myers named in the complaint,
including taking illegal action to delay entry of generic drugs and making
false statements or misrepresentations to the FDA. The company also is
forbidden to enter into agreements with generic drug manufacturers to
settle patent infringement suits, if the result of such an agreement would
potentially adversely affect competition. The injunction has a 10 year
term. The proposed injunction was negotiated in coordination with the
FTC, with the FTC taking the lead in the negotiations.
Texas, Maryland, and New York led a group totaling 35 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, in the
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