U.S. District Court Orders National Notification Program in Drug Settlement

A national notification program began Friday, as ordered by the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, to alert consumers, insurers, employee welfare benefit plans and other entities who paid for Lupron(R) about a proposed $150 million settlement of litigation against TAP Pharmaceuticals Products Inc., Abbott Laboratories and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd. Lupron(R) is an injectible prescription drug used to treat prostate cancer in men, endometriosis and uterine fibroids in women, and precocious puberty in children.

None of the litigation that resulted in this nationwide settlement reportedly involves the safety or effectiveness of Lupron(R) in any way. Instead, lawsuits claim there was a fraudulent scheme about the marketing, sale, and distribution of Lupron(R) that caused class members to overpay. The Defendants reportedly deny that they did anything wrong, and the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing or an indication that any law was violated.

The settlement includes people and entities, called a “Class,” who paid for Lupron(R) from Jan. 1, 1985 through March 31, 2005. The Class includes consumers who paid any portion of the cost of Lupron(R), as well as insurers, employee welfare benefit plans and certain governmental employer plans that paid on behalf of employees, patients and insureds.

Notices informing Class members about their legal rights will be mailed, and are scheduled to appear in newspapers and magazines all over the United States, leading up to a hearing on April 13, 2005, when the Court will consider whether to approve the settlement.

The Court has appointed the law firms of Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld, & Toll P.L.L.C., of Washington, D.C.; Foote Meyers Mielke & Flowers, of Geneva, Ill; Hagens Berman LLP, of Cambridge, Mass; Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP, of San Francisco, Calif; and Spector Roseman & Kodroff, of Philadelphia, Pa. to represent the Class.

Those affected by this settlement can send in a claim form to ask for a payment, or they can ask to be excluded from, or object to, the settlement and its terms. The deadline for objections is March 15, 2005 and the deadline for exclusions is April 1, 2005. Payment amounts will depend on the amount of Lupron(R) that was purchased and the number of valid claims filed. The deadline to file claims is May 15, 2005.

A toll-free number, 1-866-410-7650, has been established in the case (called In re Lupron(R) Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, No. 00-CV- 10861-RGS, MDL 1430), along with a Web site, http://www.lupronclaims.com/ , where notices, claim forms, and the settlement agreement may be obtained. Those affected may also write to Lupron Settlement Administrator, P.O. Box 24604, West Palm Beach, Fla. 33416.