PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Michael Undorf
Phone: (302) 577-8924
Date: March 17, 2005
STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL LAUNCH NOTIFICATION PROGRAM
TO USERS OF ANTIDEPRESSANT DRUG REMERON
(Wilmington, DE): Thousands of consumers from all 50 states, commonwealths and territories are entitled to a cash recovery based on their out-of-pocket expenses for the purchase of the prescription antidepressant drug Remeron and its generic equivalent, mirtazapine, between June 15, 2001 and January 25, 2005. The payments are part of a $36 million nationwide settlement with drug maker Organon USA Inc. and its parent company Akzo Nobel N.V. for improperly monopolizing the U.S. market for the drugs. The settlement is subject to court approval before it can become final.
"The defendants in this case attempted to stifle competition and prevent consumers from having access to low-cost, generic equivalents of this drug," Attorney General M. Jane Brady said. "This settlement reflects my commitment that we do everything we can to help lower prescription drug costs for consumers."
Brady also said that the Attorneys General have launched a campaign to notify consumers of the settlement and claims process through advertising in national publications. As part of that same effort, the states also have enlisted pharmacists and psychiatrists for notification assistance. State agencies, such as Medicaid, and some third-party payors such as health insurance plans, also will be receiving refunds.
The states' lawsuit alleged that Organon unlawfully extended its monopoly by improperly listing a new "combination therapy" patent with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and delayed listing the patent with the FDA in an effort to prevent the availability of lower-cost generic substitutes. This resulted in higher prices to those who paid for the drug. Remeron, at its peak, was Organon's top-selling drug with annual sales in excess of $400 million.
Consumers wanting claim forms and more information about the settlement may call toll-free at 1-866-401-6807 or visit the Attorney General's website at attorneygeneral.delaware.gov/ Click on the scrolling information box on the homepage for claim information. Eligible consumers must file claim forms postmarked no later than June 13, 2005 with the administrator in order to be eligible for a possible refund.
Delaware consumers wanting more information may call the Antitrust Unit of the Office of Attorney General at (302) 577-8600.