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An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989

Health

New Mexicans to receive $86,000 in drug antitrust settlement

Attorney General Patricia Madrid announced on July 18 that New Mexico is part of a $24 million distribution of funds that will compensate consumers overcharged for Cardizem CD, a prescription heart medication. This distribution is the result of a 2003 antitrust settlement with pharmaceutical companies Aventis and Andrx. Three hundred and eleven consumers in New Mexico will receive an aggregate total of more than $86,000 to compensate them for overpayment for Cardizem CD and its generic equivalents between 1998 and 2004. Nationwide, the distribution will compensate more than seventy-six thousand consumers. The states’ plan to distribute money to consumers was approved by United States District Court Judge Nancy Edmunds on May 31, after the United States Supreme Court refused to review judicial approval of the settlement.

“When pharmaceutical companies intentionally manipulate prices, keeping prices unnecessarily high while Americans suffer, they must be penalized, as we are doing here. I am glad the attorneys general acted together to put a stop to this and require the companies to return money to consumers and others who overpaid for Cardizem CD and the generic equivalents,” Attorney General Madrid said. 

A distribution to third-party purchasers of the drug will begin later this year. In addition, approximately $4.5 million will be distributed among the states to reimburse certain government purchasers, including Medicaid, for their damages.

The case, led by New York and Michigan, charged that beginning in July 1998 Hoechst, a pharmaceutical company acquired by Aventis in 2000, paid Andrx not to market a generic version of Cardizem CD. The delay in the availability of the generic form of Cardizem CD meant that consumers, medical insurance companies, and the government had to purchase the higher-priced brand name version of the drug for at least an extra year. 

Further details are available at www.cardizemsettlement.com.

©2005 Rudi Klimpert

 

Most effective sunscreen ingredient not available in U.S. 

Considered by dermatologists to be one of the most effective filters of all wavelengths of ultraviolet light, Mexoryl has been used in sunscreen formulas sold in Australia, Canada, Europe, and Mexico for more than a decade. Despite its widespread use and proven effectiveness, the ingredient is illegal in the U.S., only because the FDA has not approved it.

A 2000 study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology proved the Mexoryl was more successful at protecting against UVA rays. The researchers used six different brands of sunscreen and found that Mexoryl was twice as effective in protecting against UVA light.

The American Cancer Society estimates that one million Americans will be diagnosed with some type of skin cancer this year. Approximately 53,600 new cases of the most serious form of skin cancer, melanoma, are expected to be diagnosed in 2005 and an estimated ninety-six hundred will die. When detected early, approximately 95 percent of Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in New Mexico and well above the average compared to national statistics. According to the University of New Mexico's Cancer Center, the rate of melanoma from 1993 through 2002 was 31.2 cases per one hundred thousand people. The national average during the same period was approximately twenty cases per hundred thousand.

 

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