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

Date: March 7, 2003

Attorney General Wasden Joins BuSpar Antitrust Settlement

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced the settlement of an antitrust suit against Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Watson Pharma, Inc. and Danbury Pharmacal, Inc. The suit involved the widely prescribed, anti-anxiety drug BuSpar.

Idaho, along with 34 other states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, alleged that Bristol and the other defendants acted in violation of state and federal antitrust laws to prevent generic BuSpar from coming to market.

"This is the third recent settlement involving anti-competitive practices by drug manufacturers. 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," Attorney General Wasden said. "The free marketplace works best when there is fair competition between companies. Anticompetitive activity harms the free marketplace and consumers."

The settlement provides for a nationwide consumer fund to compensate harmed consumers. Individuals and organizations that purchased BuSpar between January 1, 1998 and January 31, 2003 (Note: The end date has been corrected from the original news release) may be eligible to receive a payment. Because BuSpar is a maintenance drug, payments of $200-$300 are likely for many consumers.

A claims process will be announced following preliminary court approval of the settlement. Wasden urged anyone who purchased BuSpar during the period covered by the settlement to keep all receipts or other documents that may establish proof of purchase. Additional information for consumers is available by calling, toll free, 800-678-9587 and on the Internet at www.busparsettlement.com.

The settlement also provides for compensation to the states, currently estimated at a total of $50 million. The State of Idaho will also receive a portion of that money for damages suffered by state and local agencies that purchased BuSpar.

Under additional terms negotiated by the Federal Trade Commission, Bristol may not engage in the future in the type of conduct alleged in the complaint. Bristol is also prohibited from entering into agreements with generic drug manufacturers to settle patent infringement suits, if the result of such an agreement would potentially adversely affect competition.

- End -

NOTE TO READERS - This settlement information has expired and is no longer available.

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