Tennessee cancer patients receive checks

By Staff Reports

   According to the Tennessee Attorney General, Paul G. Summers, some Tennessee cancer patients will receive a refund on an anticancer drug, Taxol. Checks totaling nearly $265,000 were mailed June 1, as a result of a court approved agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, maker of Taxol, which is generically known as Paclitaxel.
   The State Attorney General's lawsuit against drug manufacturer Bristol-Myers Company alleges that the drug manufacturer gained false patents on its cancer drug Taxol, to delay the marketing of a lower-priced generic alternative, Paclitaxel. This delay resulted in higher prices to those who paid for the drug. The Court approved a settlement on behalf of consumers in all states and territories.
   Eligible claimants will receive $525, who had no public or private insurance and paid in "full," the entire cost of Taxol for one single treatment. Patients that had more than one treatment and fully paid will be compensated $438 for each verified treatment.
   The settlement was approved in November in federal District Court for the District of Columbia. Attorney General Summers joined the attorney general of all other 49 states for a class of individual consumers who paid for Taxol and its generic equivalent Paclitaxel.
   "We appreciate the patience of Tennesseans affected during these legal proceedings and are glad that those who were overcharged will be recompensated," General Summers said.
   Individuals who paid for treatments of the anticancer drugs Taxol or Paclitaxel during the period from Jan. 1, 1999 through Feb. 28, 2003, and who submitted valid claims during the claims period established by the court ending Feb. 29, 2004 will receive payments. No additional claims can be made at this time.
   Taxol and Paclitaxel are both primarily used in treatment of ovarian and breast cancers, but may also be used to treat other cancers as well. Both are chemotherapy drugs which are administered under the supervision of a physician, and are not purchased at a retail pharmacy.