Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced she is sending letters to Illinois oncologists alerting the doctors of an extension of the deadline for claims to be made in the Taxol anti-trust case settlement. This settlement is the result of a lawsuit alleging that Bristol-Myers Squibb violated federal antitrust laws by attempting to block generic versions of the cancer-fighting drug Taxol from entering the market.
Madigan urged the doctors to inform their patients, or their heirs of deceased patients, who took the medication Taxol or its generic equivalent paclitaxel between Jan. 1, 1999, and Feb. 28, 2003, that they have until the end of January 2004 to file a claim for reimbursement from the settlement fund.
Patients or their heirs who file claims may be entitled to money as part of a $55 million national settlement with Bristol-Myers Squibb, the drugs manufacturer. The antitrust lawsuit was brought against the pharmaceutical giant by the attorneys general from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia and all territories and commonwealths. The attorneys general alleged that the drug maker had violated antitrust laws, resulting in less competition and higher prices for Taxol or paclitaxel.
When drug companies take advantage of sick patients searching for treatment, they deserve to be punished, Madigan said. Because of this extension of the deadline for filing claims, we hope to reach as many cancer patients and their families as possible to let them know about the money they are entitled to receive.
A $12.5 million fund for the patients has been created as part of the settlementwith individuals expected to receive funds in the range of $400 to $2,600. The settlement will reimburse patients or their heirs for a portion of what they paid for the drug and will reimburse insured patients for the out-of-pocket expenses that were not paid by their insurers.
Because significant sums remained in the $12.5 million settlement fund halfway through the claims period, the court granted a request by the attorneys general to extend the deadline for filing claims to Jan. 31, 2004.
Taxol is an FDA-approved treatment for non-small cell lung cancer, breast and ovarian cancers and AIDS-related Kaposis sarcoma. The drug also was marketed by Bristol-Myers Squibb as Onxol.
Patients who paid for part or all of their treatments with Taxol or its genetic equivalents from Jan. 1, 1999, through Feb. 28, 2003, can file a claim for recovery. Information: www.taxolsettlement.com or 1-800-659-7609.