State settles antitrust suit with Cardizem CD

State settles antitrust suit with Cardizem CD Attorney General Larry Long recently announced a proposed settlement for $80 million involving the popular heart medication Cardizem CD. The 50-state settlement resolves an antitrust lawsuit filed by South Dakota and other states against Aventis Pharmaceuticals Inc. ("Aventis"), Andrx Corporation ("Andrx") and affiliated entities.

The states alleged that Aventis and Andrx illegally agreed that Andrx would stay off the market with a less expensive generic version of the drug Cardizem CD. In return Aventis would pay Andrx nearly $90 million. The lawsuit alleged that delays in bringing the generic drug to market resulted in higher prices for consumers and governmental agencies.

"Today's settlement serves as a warning to large drug companies to play by the rules," Long said.

Under the settlement, Aventis and Andrx must pay $80 million into a fund that will compensate consumers, state agencies, and insurance companies who overpaid for Cardizem CD and its generic equivalents between 1998 and January 2003. 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.

The proposed settlement was filed today in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan and requires approval from the court to become effective.

If approved, consumers who purchased Cardizem CD or its generic equivalent at anytime between January of 1998 and January 2003 will be allowed to file claims this summer.

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