Attorney General Ben Chandler today announced a final resolution with Bristol – Myers Squibb Company that would settle a multistate antitrust lawsuit involving the cancer-fighting drug, Taxol.
The Commonwealth of Kentucky, in conjunction with 49 other states and U.S. territories, will recover $55 million to settle the states’ claims for damages, penalties and individual consumer compensation. In addition, Bristol-Myers Squibb has agreed to provide free quantities of Taxol worth approximately $7.5 million, to approved health care facilities, provided recipients meet certain eligibility requirements.
“This is a significant victory for the Commonwealth. This settlement will help to compensate consumers, as well as the Kentucky Medicaid Program, who overpaid for this drug,” said Attorney General Ben Chandler.
Kentucky, along with 31 other states sued BMS on June 4th, 2002 alleging the company violated antitrust laws by engaging in an illegal scheme to protect its monopoly for the cancer-fighting drug Taxol and keep lower-priced generic drugs off the market. Seventeen additional states have joined the settlement. Bristol- Myers Squibb has also agreed to strong injunctive relief for ten years to prevent it from engaging in such anti-competitive conduct in the future.
The settlement was filed today with U.S. Federal District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in the District of Columbia and requires court approval to become effective. If approved, the Attorney General will implement a claims administration process for consumers who purchased out of pocket or paid variable co-payments for Taxol or its generic equivalent, Paclitaxel, between January 1, 1999 and February 28, 2003.
The Attorneys General have set aside approximately $12 million for a nationwide consumer distribution program to compensate consumers who may have paid higher prices for the drugs. Details about the refund program will be provided at a later date on Attorney General Ben Chandler’s website
Under the settlement, the beleaguered Commonwealth Medicaid program will also receive substantial monies for damages incurred by certain governmental entities that purchased the Taxol or its generic equivalent. While the ultimate allocation among the litigating states has not yet been determined, more than $37 million will be set aside to be divided for this purpose. The states will also divide $6 million for reimbursement of litigation related costs and expenses.