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Consumer Advisory Bulletin

Iowans Are Eligible for $1 Million in Prescription Drug Refunds

Antitrust case provides refunds -- but only to people who file a claim.

The Attorney General's Office is urging eligible Iowans to file claims for an estimated $1 million in refunds resulting from an antitrust lawsuit filed by Iowa and other states. Many refund checks will be considerable - ranging from several hundred dollars to nearly $2,000 - but people will only receive a refund if they file a claim. Here are the key details:

Who is eligible for refunds? Most consumers who bought "Lorazepam" and "Clorazepate" any time in 1998 or 1999 are eligible. The two drugs are widely used to treat symptoms of anxiety, including use by people with Alzheimer's disease, people in nursing homes, hospice patients, and others. (They are prescribed about 20 million times a year.)

How do I obtain detailed information on eligibility and claims procedures?

It is not difficult to apply. The settlement administrator can provide answers and claim forms. Call toll-free at 800-899-5806 (877-564-7096 for the hearing impaired.) Go to the web site: www.agsettlement.com, or send an e-mail to administrator@agsettlement.com.

When must I file, & what information will I need?

Claims must be filed by September 29. Pharmacies will be able to help most consumers document their drug purchases for purposes of filing claims. Pharmacies all over Iowa have been notified of the settlement and that consumers will be requesting information about Lorazepam and Clorazepate purchases during 1998 and 1999. The Iowa Pharmacy Association is working to spread the word, and pharmacists are stepping forward to help their patients.

How did the refunds come about?

The Iowa Attorney General's Office and other states alleged that Mylan Laboratories violated antitrust laws with an illegal plan to drasti-cally increase the prices on the two generic drugs. The company eliminated competition by cornering the market on the drugs' active ingredients, and then raised prices by twenty- or thirty-fold, the states alleged. The nationwide settlement of the case provides about $72 million for consumer refunds - an estimated $1 million for Iowans IF they file claims.

The Attorney Generals alleged that Mylan's actions were illegal and unconscionable - all the more so because the drugs are so important and costly to so many people. The office strongly encourages Iowans to check on eligibility and apply for the refunds.

For more information, contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division, Hoover Building, Des Moines, Iowa 50319. Call 515-281-5926.