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Post date: July 20 2005

Distribution Of $28.5 Million In Cardizem Settlement Begins

Attorney General Spitzer today announced the distribution of more than $24 million in antitrust settlement funds nationwide to consumers who purchased Cardizem CD, a prescription heart medication. In addition, approximately $4.5 million will be distributed among the states to reimburse certain government purchasers for their damages.

"Violations of the antitrust laws that keep drug prices unjustifiably high and cost consumers and taxpayers millions are unacceptable," Spitzer said. "I’m pleased to be able to return these funds to the New Yorkers and agencies who have been harmed by these anti-competitive actions."

A total of 4,969 New York State consumers will receive more than $1.4 million as compensation for overpayments to purchase Cardizem CD and its generic equivalents between 1998 and 2004. Nationwide, the distribution will compensate more than 76,000 individual consumers.

Government purchasers in New York State will receive approximately $820,000 of the $4.5 million earmarked for state agencies across the country. A separate distribution to third party purchasers of the drug will begin later this year.

The distribution results from a 2003 settlement in a case co-led by New York and Michigan against two pharmaceutical companies, Aventis and Andrx. The case charged that beginning in July 1998, Hoechst, a pharmaceutical company acquired by Aventis in 2000, paid Andrx not to market a generic version of Cardizem CD. The delay in the availability of the generic form of Cardizem CD meant that consumers, medical insurance companies and the government had to purchase the higher priced brand name version of the drug for at least an extra year.

The states' plan to distribute money to consumers was approved by United States District Court Judge Nancy Edmunds on May 31, 2005, after the United States Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by an objector to the settlement.

The case is being handled by Director of Litigation Robert L. Hubbard and Assistant Attorney General Margaret D. Martin of the Attorney General’s Antitrust Bureau, under the supervision of Bureau Chief Jay L. Himes.