Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Wednesday, December 12, 2001


Company Charged with Illegally Blocking Generic BuSpar Manufacturers

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today announced he has filed a complaint with 29 other attorneys general in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. The complaint concerns BMS's alleged practices regarding the prescription anti-anxiety drug BuSpar.

"We believe Bristol-Myers Squibb's conduct violated federal and state antitrust laws, and caused Texas consumers and agencies to pay higher prices than they would have if generic equivalents had been available," said Attorney General Cornyn. "BuSpar is a drug used by the most vulnerable individuals in our population. We must do what is right for them."

BuSpar is the brand name used by BMS in marketing a widely prescribed anti-anxiety drug made from the chemical compound buspirone hydrochloride. Last year, BMS's sales of BuSpar totaled approximately $700 million.

The complaint filing follows a multi-state investigation of alleged attempts by the company to ward off competition. In particular, the investigating states concluded that BMS knowingly made false statements to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concerning the scope of a new patent in an effort to prevent manufacturers of generic drugs from marketing their buspirone hydrochloride products. This alleged action violates antitrust laws.

State and federal regulators often must rely on companies to furnish them with accurate information. A company that intentionally furnishes regulators with false information interferes with the government's ability to protect the public.

BMS's improper actions kept generic buspirone off of the market for nearly four months. Because of this, BMS adversely affected thousands of consumers across the United States, including the elderly and other vulnerable Texans. BMS's actions also harmed state government.

The suit seeks injunctive relief, civil penalties and monetary damages. The matter is being handled by the Antitrust Section of the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division.

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