|January 27, 2003
Media Contact: Jenn Meale
Phone: (850) 245-0150
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TALLAHASSEE -- Attorney General Charlie Crist today announced a settlement for $80 million involving the popular heart medication Cardizem CD. The 50-state settlement resolves an antitrust lawsuit filed by state attorneys general against Aventis Pharmaceuticals Inc. ("Aventis"), Andrx Corporation ("Andrx") and affiliated entities. Cardizem CD is used to treat chest pains, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Florida consumers affected by the alleged unlawful conduct are projected to receive approximately $1.2 million. The Florida Attorney General's Office will also work with affected state agencies to process claims for any overcharges they may have paid.
"Today's settlement serves as a warning to the big prescription drug companies," General Crist said. "We will not stand for companies that conspire to keep less expensive medications out of the hands of Florida's consumers."
The lawsuit alleged that Aventis and Andrx illegally agreed that a less expensive generic version of the drug Cardizem CD produced by Andrx would stay off the market in return for Aventis paying Andrx nearly $90 million. Delays in bringing the generic drug to market resulted in higher prices for consumers and governmental agencies. In 1996 and 1997, Cardizem CD generated over $700 million per year for Aventis.
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. In total, the drug companies will be required to pay over $190 million.
The 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 Attorney General 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.