Attorney General Charlie Crist News Release
October 21, 2004
Media Contact: Jenn Meale
Phone: (850) 245-0150
Attorney General Crist Announces $36 Million National Settlement
TALLAHASSEE - Attorney General Charlie Crist today announced a $36-million nationwide settlement for consumers, state and local public entity purchasers with drug maker Organon USA, Inc. and its parent company, Akzo Nobel N.V., resolving antitrust claims involving the antidepressant drug Remeron.
The states' complaint alleged that Organon unlawfully extended its monopoly by improperly listing a new "combination therapy" patent with the U.S. Federal Drug Administration. In addition, the complaint alleged that Organon delayed listing the patent with the FDA in another effort to delay the availability of lower-cost generic substitutes. This resulted in higher prices to those who paid for the drug. With annual sales in excess of $400 million at its peak, Remeron is Organon’s top-selling drug.
"This case focused on an attempt to stifle competition and prevent consumers from having access to low-cost medications," said Crist. "This lawsuit represented a way for us to help lower prescription drug costs for consumers."
Both a multi-state complaint, encompassing every U.S. state and territory, and preliminary settlement papers were filed in New Jersey federal court yesterday. A ten-month state investigation, led by Texas along with Florida and Oregon, led to this settlement. Subject to court approval, Organon will pay monies that should bring financial relief to state agencies and thousands of consumers. The settlement resolves claims brought by state attorneys general, as well as a private class action brought on behalf of a class of end payors.
Organon has also agreed to make timely listings of patents. In addition, Organon has agreed to submit accurate and truthful information to the FDA.
Florida consumers will be among those who have the option of submitting claims for reimbursement. If the court approves the settlement, state attorneys general will implement a claims administration process for consumers who purchased Remeron or its generic equivalent between June 15, 2001, and the present. Florida will also be among states receiving monies for overcharges incurred by certain governmental entities that purchased Remeron or its generic equivalent. The claims process will be announced after the court approves the settlement.