Awards are the result of the settlement of an anti-trust case against the makers of the anti-cancer drug "Taxol."
DES MOINES. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller today announced the award of $40,000 to the Hope Lodge project of the American Cancer Society and over $8,000 to the Iowa Division of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. The award of funds to the two groups concludes the state's involvement in a multi-state antitrust suit brought against Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. regarding the company's chemotherapy drug, "Taxol."
"These are funds that are, in effect, left over from this case," Miller said. "The court instructed us to distribute these funds to benefit cancer patients and their families. These are two fine causes that fulfill that purpose."
American Cancer Society -- Hope Lodge:
The Hope Lodge, to be constructed in Iowa City, is planned to provide free lodging to cancer patients and their care-givers while the patient is undergoing cancer treatment. It will be located immediately adjacent to the Ronald McDonald House on land that will effectively be donated by the University of Iowa. Any person diagnosed with cancer and actively receiving cancer treatment at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, Mercy Hospital or the VA Hospital will be eligible to stay at the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in Iowa City. There will be approximately 30 private rooms and several common areas, a computer center, a recreation room, and a large kitchen/dining area.
Gary J. Streit, the Cedar Rapids Hope Lodge Campaign Chair, said: "Our goal is to reduce the burdens for cancer patients and their families. Hope Lodge will provide a free, non-medical, home away from home for cancer patients and their families when they need to travel to Iowa City for treatment. We want patients to be able to focus their energy on positive things --- getting better, relaxing and enjoying their time away from treatment. Perhaps most importantly, families will know they are not alone in their battle with cancer."
Iowa Division of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition:
The Iowa Division of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition plans to use its award of $8,368 for direct ovarian cancer patient support. The group is developing a 24-hour/7-day Patient Resource Line for in-state support and plans to provide national resources for patients and their families, according to Deb Quinn of Des Moines, president of the organization.
The group also plans to develop and distribute new patient totes for women entering treatment for ovarian cancer. The totes will include literature and resources, along with a variety of personal care items chosen to be helpful during cancer treatments. Quinn said, "It is important to provide both good information and caring support to cancer patients, and we hope to do both with the use of these funds."
Background on the Litigation:
Iowa and other states alleged Bristol-Myers Squibb used fraudulent means to delay the introduction of lower-priced generic versions of Taxol from 1999 to 2003, thereby illegally inflating the cost of chemotherapy for patients during that time. "Drug prices usually drop significantly when generic drugs become available," Miller said. "Thwarting the introduction of generic drugs illegally harms both consumers and taxpayers, who often pay for prescription drugs subsidized or paid-for by government programs."
Under the 2003 settlement, Bristol-Myers paid a total of $55 million to the states. Iowa's share included $323,000 for purchases by state agencies and $116,000 in payments to 221 individual Iowans who submitted claims based on their purchases of the drug. The court ordered the Attorney General to distribute $48,368 remaining in the settlement account to benefit cancer patients and their families.
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April 24, 2003: States and Bristol-Myers Reach "Taxol" Cancer-Drug Antitrust Settlement
July 24, 2003: Cancer-Drug Refunds Available in "Taxol" Case