[Ohio] Attorney General Jim Petro announced Thursday that Ohio and all other states have resolved an antitrust lawsuit with Bristol Myers-Squibb Co. involving the cancer-fighting drug Taxol.
Ohio, which led negotiations for the plaintiff states, will recover more than $1.5 million for state agencies and hospitals as part of a $55 million settlement to help compensate the state and consumers who overpaid for the drug, Petro said.
"This is a significant victory for Ohio because Bristol Myers-Squibb Co. has agreed to much more than just financial reparations," Petro said. "The company will also provide free quantities of Taxol to DEA-approved health care facilities, provided the recipients meet eligibility guidelines, and will abide by a strong agreement prohibiting anti-competitive conduct in the future."
While the ultimate allocation among the litigating states has not yet been determined and must be approved by the court, more than $37.5 million will be set aside to be divided for this purpose. An additional $12.5 million will be set aside to reimburse consumers for some of their out-of-pocket payments.
How does providing free Taxol remedy an antitrust violation? Shouldn’t compensating the customers who, ahem, “overpaid” for Taxol be sufficient? This settlement seems to send a bad message: If states don’t want to pay market price for drugs, they can simply bring an antitrust suit and force the company to provide the drug for free as part of a “settlement.”