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

Date: December 20, 2004

State Receives Nearly $180,000 From Prescription Drug Case

(Boise) - The State of Idaho has received $179,267.37 from an antitrust settlement involving the prescription drug BuSpar, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. Wasden today advised the Idaho Legislature and Governor Kempthorne that the money has been deposited into the state's general fund.

The payment comes from the 2003 settlement of an antitrust suit against Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Watson Pharma, Inc. and Danbury Pharmacal, Inc. The money compensates the State of Idaho for Medicaid and state agency purchases of BuSpar.

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

"The consequence of the illegal conduct was that lower cost generic substitutes were delayed in arriving on the market, resulting in higher prices for the drug," Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. "Idaho taxpayers paid more for this drug in the form of Medicaid reimbursements and other state purchases than they would have paid in a free and competitive marketplace. The resulting higher state costs meant less money was available to the legislature to fund other essential state programs. Individual Idaho consumers, who were affected in the same way, have also received restitution payments."

In July, 276 Idahoans who submitted claims received restitution checks totaling more than $162,000. The amount of the refund was determined by the amount of BuSpar purchased. The average refund was $588.  BuSpar is a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder.

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