Texas AG Leads Nation in Getting Money Back for Users of Antidepressant Drug

January 26, 2005

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s leading role in a national antitrust case will reportedly ensure that thousands of eligible Texas consumers get their money back. Consumers will receive the money as damages after paying high prescription prices for the antidepressant drug Remeron. A New Jersey federal judge gave preliminary approval of this settlement this week in Newark.

The manufacturer of the drug, Organon USA Inc. of New Jersey, and its Dutch parent company, Akzo Nobel N.V., agreed to settle the matter with the states for $36 million after engaging in a scheme to mislead the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and manipulate the patent process. This reported orchestrated practice unlawfully kept cheaper generic equivalents of Remeron off the market, extended the company’s monopoly over the drug and wrongly generated millions of dollars in profits.

“The company abused the system by preventing Texas consumers from having access to more affordable, generic versions of this drug,” said Abbott. “My antitrust team led the way in getting justified relief for the end-users of the medication here in Texas and nationwide, and the overall result is lower drug prices.”

Texas consumers, as well as state purchasers such as the Medicaid program, will be among those nationwide who may submit claims for reimbursement. This week’s court approval allows attorneys general to implement a claims administration process for consumers who purchased Remeron or a generic equivalent between June 15, 2001, and the present. Consumers will be notified via advertising in major newspapers and magazines, as well as by direct mail and radio public service announcements from pharmacies and psychiatrists. Beginning in March, the claims administrator will introduce a Web site, www.remeronsettlement.com, and toll-free number for information about filing claims.

Generic equivalents are included for consideration in refunds because Organon’s actions delayed their entry into the marketplace, which adversely influenced how quickly the prices might have fallen for Remeron and its generic substitutes.

Organon USA also agreed to an injunction that will require it to make timely listings of patents and prohibits it from submitting false or misleading information to the FDA.

The settlement must receive final court approval before the money will be distributed.

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