For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
Date: March 17, 2005
Attorney General Wasden Gains Refunds for Users of Antidepressant
(Boise) - Idaho residents who use the antidepressant drug Remeron may apply for refunds under an antitrust settlement between the 50 states and the drug's manufacturer, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. In addition, the State of Idaho will be compensated for overpayments by governmental entities, such as Medicaid, that paid for the drugs. The amount paid to the state will be determined at a later date. Third-party payors, such as health insurance plans, are also eligible to recover money.
Wasden encouraged consumers who purchased the prescription drug Remeron or its generic equivalent, mirtazapine, between June 15, 2001 and January 25, 2005 to file claims in the $36 million nationwide settlement with drug maker Organon USA Inc. and its parent company Akzo Nobel N.V.. Links to the claim form and additional information are available on the Consumer Protection section of Attorney General Wasden's website. Consumers may also call a toll–free number (1–866–401–6807) to obtain a claim form and more information.
"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 Wasden said. "The settlement prohibits the defendants from engaging in such conduct in the future and represents a way for Idaho to help lower prescription drug costs for its consumers."
The states alleged that Organon unlawfully extended its monopoly by improperly listing a new "combination therapy" patent with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 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 for the drug. Remeron, at its peak, was the Organon's top-selling drug with annual sales in excess of $400 million.
The settlement, when it receives final court approval, 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.
Consumers must file a claim form in order to obtain a refund. The deadline for filing claims is June 13, 2005. Claims may be submitted online or mailed to the settlement administrator. Claims must be submitted online or postmarked no later than June 13, 2005.
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 number.
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NOTE TO READERS - This settlement information has expired and is no longer available.