States Sue Bristol-Myers
By Mary Guiden, Staff Writer
Twenty-nine states and Puerto Rico filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb Wednesday in a New York U.S. district court.
States participating include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.
The charge against Bristol-Myers stems from a multi-state investigation into statements made by pharmaceutical company officials to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about the patent for BuSpar. The suit alleges Bristol-Myers misrepresented its patent rights, causing FDA to extend its monopoly by blocking generic competitors.
Maine Attorney General Steven Rowe says consumer access to generic drugs helps contain skyrocketing growth in drug prices, which is a major problem for consumers in his state and across the nation. "We will vigorously oppose any scheme to illegally prevent consumers from enjoying the benefits of generic competition," Rowe says.
Last year, total sales of BuSpar exceeded $700 million. The Maine Medicaid program spent approximately $500,000 on BuSpar during the time period at issue in the case.
The lawsuit comes on the heels of a similar antitrust case filed last summer by 27 states against Andrx and Aventis, two major pharmaceutical companies.