For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: January 27, 2003

Manufacturer of Cardizem CD Settles Antitrust Allegations

(Boise) - More than $215,000 will be available to Idaho consumers, state agencies and health insurers as a result of an antitrust settlement, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced today. Wasden joined with 49 state attorneys general in an $80 million settlement resolving alleged antitrust violations by Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ("Aventis") and Andrx Corporation ("Andrx").

The attorneys general alleged that Aventis paid Andrx nearly $90 million to keep a generic version of Cardizem CD off the market. Cardizem CD is widely used for treatment of chronic chest pains, high blood pressure, and prevention of heart attacks.

"This is an example of two prescription drug companies conspiring to keep the price of an essential drug artificially high, preventing Idahoans from purchasing a less expensive generic drug," Wasden said. "This is the second recent settlement involving anti-competitive practices by drug manufacturers. Two additional lawsuits against another manufacturer are pending. At a time of skyrocketing health care costs, this should be of great concern to health care providers and insurers, as well as to consumers. The free marketplace works best when there is fair competition between companies."

Under the settlement, Aventis and Andrx will compensate consumers, state agencies, and insurance companies who overpaid for Cardizem CD and its generic equivalents between 1998 and January 2003.

The proposed settlement was filed today in Federal District Court in Detroit and requires court approval.

The process to file claims will be announced following court approval of the settlement. "I encourage consumers who have purchased Cardizem CD between January 1998 and January 2003, to retain their receipts and other documentation so they can file their claims quickly and with ease," Attorney General Wasden said.

The settlement is in addition to a $110 million settlement reached earlier between the companies and drug wholesalers involving the same alleged violations. In total, the drug companies will be required to pay over $190 million.

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