For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: January 21, 2003

Attorney General Wasden Delivers Funds for Mental Health Needs

(Boise) - Attorney General Lawrence Wasden today delivered $142,000 to Governor Dirk Kempthorne to be used for mental health care for Idahoans.

The Attorney General's Office recovered the money in a legal settlement with the manufacturer of two drugs commonly used to treat anxiety and Alzheimer's disease.

The Department of Health and Welfare's Division of Family and Community Services will disburse the money to Idaho's seven regional mental health centers.

"I hope this money will help decrease the number of Idahoans needing hospitalization, reduce the need for civil commitments and the associated costs incurred by the state and impacted families, and improve the quality of life for Idahoans who suffer from mental illness," Attorney General Wasden said.

"I want to thank the Attorney General's office for helping Idaho secure this one-time funding," Gov. Kempthorne said. "The proceeds from this settlement will benefit individuals in our state who need assistance in acquiring necessary medications."

"The timing of this extra money couldn't be better," Karl Kurtz, Director of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, said. "We have a very tight budget this year, so this means more opportunity to get medications to those who really need them."

The February 2002 settlement resolved allegations that Mylan Laboratories and other companies entered into illegal agreements to monopolize the market and fix the prices for two prescription drugs. The drugs, Lorazepam and Clorazepate, are used to treat anxiety and Alzheimer's disease.

As a result of the settlement, the State of Idaho's Medicaid program previously received $101,000 to compensate the program for damages incurred as a result of the anticompetitive harm. In addition, 850 Idaho businesses and consumers received restitution payments totaling $327,000.

$142,000 remained in the restitution fund after all consumers had received their payments. After consulting with Governor Kempthorne and legislative leaders, and pursuant to the court's order, the Attorney General determined to use the remaining funds for medication for mental health.

"The opportunity to right a wrong is one of the best parts of this job," Attorney General Wasden said. "Additionally, in pursuing our primary objective of seeking justice, we are frequently able to recover funds for the benefit of the citizens of Idaho. Last year the Attorney General's Office recovered more than $1,147,000 in restitution for our citizens. In recent years the office has provided money to the Idaho Council on Domestic Violence and toys for Idaho's children through the Marine Corps' Toys for Tots program as a result of similar damage awards."

Attorney General Wasden also reminded Idahoans that they may still register to receive restitution payments from a price-fixing settlement involving music compact discs. The Attorney General said consumers who purchased a music compact disc in the last several years can receive a payment of $10 to $20. Consumers can register on the Attorney General's Internet site. The Attorney General said registration takes only about 3 minutes.

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NOTE TO READERS - This settlement information has expired and is no longer available.

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