immediate release -- Monday, July 2, 2001.
Contact: Bob Brammer at 515-281-6699
Joins Antitrust Suit Alleging Prescription Drug Maker Illegally Blocked
Generic Version of Popular
Blood Pressure Medication
including Iowa have joined in an antitrust lawsuit today alleging that
two major pharmaceutical companies illegally conspired to keep off the
market a generic form of the popular heart medication called "Cardizem
The suit alleges that
the Hoechst pharmaceutical company, the maker of Cardizem CD, paid Andrx
Corp. about $90 million to keep a lower-priced generic version of Cardizem
off the market for about a year beginning in 1998. Cardizem CD is considered
a highly effective medication for high blood pressure, chest pains and
heart disease. Defendants in the suit are Andrx and French-based Aventis
SA, which acquired Hoechst last year.
The suit says the
states are seeking relief "for a series of anti-competitive acts
by which defendants sought to delay or prevent the marketing of less expensive,
generic alternatives to Cardizem CD, a highly profitable, brand-name drug."
The States are asking
the court to order restitution for consumers and taxpayer-financed programs
like Medicaid. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern
District of Michigan.
"We are very
concerned about any anti-competitive conduct that drives up the cost of
prescription drugs for senior citizens or anyone else." Miller said.
"In addition to being a financial burden, it's a health issue. Some
people stop taking needed medications when prices go too high."
State Attorneys General
have estimated that a million Americans take Cardizem CD or its generic
versions. Generic versions now are sold at about half the price of Cardizem
CD, which now costs about $65 per month for a typical dosage. "It
is damaging to citizens and taxpayers when people have to pay more for
an expensive brand-name drug when a lower-priced generic should be available
as an alternative," Miller said.
plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have joined in the suit:
AK, AZ, AR, CA, CT, DC, HI, ID, IN, IA, KS, ME, MI, MN, NV, NM, NY, NC,
ND, OK, PR, RI, SC, UT, VT, WA, WV, WI, WY. The NY and MI State Attorneys
General Offices are serving as lead counsel for the states.