AG Joins Lawsuit Vs BristolMyers

June 7, 2002
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LANSING—Attorney General Jennifer Granholm filed an antitrust lawsuit last week against Bristol-Myers Squibb Inc.

She accused the pharmaceutical maker of illegally blocking the generic version of its breast- and-ovarian cancer-fighting drug Taxol from coming to market, and of forcing cancer patients to pay significantly higher prices for the drug.

“Bristol made billions off this single drug while untold numbers of women were denied access to a more affordable treatment.

“The idea that breast-cancer victims were fighting for their lives while a drug company was boosting its bottom line is repulsive,” said Granholm.

The active ingredient in Taxol is paclitaxel, which was discovered and developed by the National Cancer Institute with taxpayer money. Bristol reportedly has earned $5.4 billion from sales of Taxol since 1998.

Granholm said Bristol manipulated the patent process, which kept other drug makers from creating generic alternatives to Taxol.

“I find it particularly distasteful that Bristol is illegally profiting from a drug which only exists because taxpayers paid for its development in the first place. That’s double-dipping at its worst,” added Granholm.

Granholm also sued Bristol in February for antitrust violations regarding its drug Buspar, a suit the American Association of Retired Persons recently joined.

Twenty-eight other states have filed against Bristol in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia over Taxol.

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