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AG ROWE ANNOUNCES BEGINNING OF CLAIMS PERIOD IN SETTLEMENT OF NATIONAL PHARMACEUTICAL LAWSUIT
May 30, 2001
CONTACT: Francis Ackerman, Assistant Attorney General 207-626-8800
Attorney General Steven Rowe 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. The settlement has been agreed to by attorneys general from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
At a meeting of retired state employees today, Rowe asked all in attendance for help spreading the word. "I need your help in sharing good news with Maine people who paid for two drugs, lorazepam and clorazepate, with their own money between January 1998 and December 1999. They may be eligible for refunds from the manufacturer of those drugs. The drugs are commonly prescribed to treat Alzheimer's disease and anxiety," Rowe said.
Experts estimate that Maine consumers filing claims may be refunded a total of $245,000. Rowe urged Maine consumers who purchased either lorazepam or clorazepate to check whether they are eligible for a refund. Consumers are usually eligible for a refund if they:
purchased lorazepam or clorazepate any time between Jan. 1, 1998 - Dec. 31, 1999; AND
were not reimbursed by any type of insurance.
Overcharges paid by consumers are estimated to range from $55 to $100 per month, meaning that many victims may be entitled to significant sums for restitution. For example, a consumer who purchased clorazepate for the entire damage period (January 1998 through December 1999), could receive a check for $2,000.
The consumer claims period will begin on June 1, 2001, and will run for 120 days, until Sept. 29, 2001. Maine 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 1-800-899-5806, or accessing the Internet at www.agsettlement.com.
Additionally, many pharmacies in Maine will send claim forms directly to their customers who are eligible for a refund. Attorney General Rowe has also asked pharmacies to display information about how consumers can file claims.
The lawsuit accused Mylan and others in 1998 of orchestrating an illegal price increase of more than 2,000% for the generic drugs lorazepam and clorazepate, both used to treat Alzheimer's disease and anxiety. Under terms of the settlement, $72 million will be made available for distribution to individual consumers nationwide injured by the price increases. Also, in an effort to restore a competitive balance to the pharmaceutical market, Judge Hogan preliminarily approved an injunction under which Mylan has agreed to certain restrictions in its future supplier agreements.