2007 News Releases
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 20, 2007
Audrey A. Browne, Esq.
DC 37 Reaches Proposed $24 Million Settlement
Against Drug Manufacturer
The DC 37 Health & Security Plan participated as a lead
plaintiff in a nationwide class action suit against EMD Serono, Inc.,
Serono Laboratories, Inc. & Merck Serono International S.A., the manufacturer
of Serostim, which is prescribed to treat AIDS wasting.
According to Executive Director Lillian Roberts, "This case cried
out for justice. Some of our most vulnerable members who could ill afford
the co-pays for this drug were harmed economically as was our benefits
Plan, which paid the hugely expensive ingredient costs for Serostim. Once
the settlement is approved by the court, both our members and the Plan
will be able to recoup a fair share of what they paid."
In early 2006, Serono Laboratories agreed to pay $704 million in fines
and restitution to the federal government in a criminal investigation
brought by the U.S. Attorney. Because that agreement did not provide any
reimbursement to consumers and benefit plans, DC 37, a member of the Prescription
Access Litigation Project (PAL), filed a civil suit in federal court against
As DC 37 had learned, the U.S. Attorney asserted in the criminal case
that "nearly 85% of the prescriptions written for Serostim were not
medically necessary." Because this drug cost the Plan $21,000 for
a recommended 12-week course of treatment and because our members had
to pay co-pays to receive this drug, DC 37 felt compelled to seek justice
in the court for the Plan and its members.
After nearly a year of hard-fought litigation, the
parties agreed to settle. The $24 million settlement, if approved by the
federal court in the upcoming months, will be used to reimburse the Plan
and our members as well as others for their costs in purchasing this drug.
DC 37 is New York City's largest public employee union, representing
121,000 members and 50,000 retirees.
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