DOJ: News Release

McGrath: State Receives Part of Heart Medication Antitrust Settlement

HELENA – Montana Attorney General Mike McGrath said Monday that the state will receive about $144,000 as part of an $80 million settlement involving the popular heart medication Cardizem CD. The 50-state settlement resolves an antitrust lawsuit filed against Aventis Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Andrx Corporation.

The suit alleged that Aventis and Andrx illegally agreed that Andrx would stay off the market with a less expensive generic version of the drug Cardizem CD in return for Aventis paying Andrx nearly $90 million. The lawsuit alleged that delays in bringing the generic drug to market resulted in higher prices for consumers and government agencies.

“This case was another example of prescription drug companies manipulating the marketplace and manipulating consumers,” McGrath said. “With this type of corporate behavior, it is little wonder that health care costs for seniors, businesses and government agencies have become so high.”

Under the settlement, Aventis and Andrx must pay $80 million into a fund that will compensate consumers, state agencies and insurance companies who overpaid for Cardizem CD and its generic equivalents between 1998 and January 2003. The settlement is in addition to a $110 million settlement reached earlier between the companies and drug wholesalers involving the same alleged violations.

The proposed settlement was filed today with U.S. Federal District Court Judge Nancy Edmunds in Detroit and requires approval from the court to become effective. If approved, the state will implement a claims administration process this summer for consumers who purchased Cardizem CD or its generic equivalent at any time between January of 1998 and January 2003.

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