Thursday, July 24, 2003

Antitrust News: Michigan Attorney General Boasts Taxol Reimbursement Program

Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox sent out a press release boasting about the settlement in drug manufacturer Bristol-Myers Squibb's antitrust suit.

"Patients who are battling cancer should not have to worry about whether they are paying a fair price for their medication," said Cox.

Attorneys General of 31 states, territories and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit in federal district court in the District of Columbia against drug manufacturer Bristol-Myers Squibb Company alleging that Bristol-Myers Squibb fraudulently obtained patents on its cancer drug Taxol in order to delay the marketing of generic alternatives to Taxol. Bristol-Myers Squibb did the courageous thing and settled, and under the Settlement of the lawsuit, the Bristol-Myers Squibb will be required to provide Taxol free of charge to patients meeting certain financial need criteria, and has agreed to a court order that prohibits the type of conduct that the Attorneys General claim resulted in consumer harm.

What a bizarre case. Just how does patent holding become an antitrust violation? And how does providing Taxol free to poor people have anything to do with the question at hand.

Antitrust isn't about justice. It's about press releases from attorneys general seeking to be governors for providing something for nothing.

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