Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Thursday, July 29, 1999


Knoll Pharmaceutical and BASF Corporation sanctioned for deceptive trade practices

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today announced a multi-state settlement agreement with New Jersey based Knoll Pharmaceutical Company and BASF Corporation over marketing practices involving the sale of Synthroid, Knoll's brand of synthetic thyroid hormone product. The product is used by over 8 million people in the United States with hyperthyroidism. These patients take levothyroxine sodium daily. As part of the settlement, Knoll has agreed to pay the states $41.8 million dollars.

The Attorneys General alleged that Knoll had violated numerous consumer protection laws by the way the company promoted the use of Synthroid. Among the specific allegations was Knoll's attempt to prevent the publication of a study which showed that Synthroid and some generic levothyroxine sodium products were bioequivalent. Knoll also claimed that Synthroid was a reference product or the standard for levothyroxine sodium products, and was unique or superior to competing brands of levothyroxine sodium products.

Finally, Knoll Pharmaceutical claimed that no other competing brand of levothyroxine sodium product was equivalent to or useful in place of Synthroid.

In entering into the settlement, Knoll Pharmaceuticals admits no wrongdoing and does not agree to admit to any violation of state or federal law. The company entered into a settlement document called an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance. The document requires that in the future Knoll Pharmaceutical not make any false, misleading or deceptive claim regarding Synthroid or any other levothyroxine sodium product in advertising, promotion or labeling.

In announcing the settlement, the Attorneys General point out that the safety or efficacy of Synthroid or any other synthetic thyroid hormone replacement product was not at issue. Individuals who are currently taking the product should not stop taking it.

Other states that have reached a settlement agreement with Knoll Pharmaceuticals include Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan,

Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

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Contact Ted Delisi, Heather Browne, or Tom Kelley at (512) 463-2050