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AG Jim Hood announces settlements and...

AG Jim Hood announces settlements and suggests how Legislature ought to spend proceeds

By: Magnolia Tribune - February 19, 2014

Attorney General Announces Over $63 Million Settlements And Recommends Money Go To Drug Courts and Prisoner Reentry Program

Attorney General Jim Hood announced today that he sent a check to the state General Fund for $52,697,853.73 and a check for $11,167,097.00 to the State/School Employees’ Health Insurance Plan.

The money, totaling $63,864,932.73, is the result of litigation involving eight cases as follows:
•GlaxoSmithKline, LLC (Avandia): $25,219,368.42
•BASF Corporation et al (vitamin litigation): $22,509,978.76
•LCD litigation: $3,844,417.09
•Toyota: $433,542.74
•Lender Processing Services, Inc.: $380,336.25
•Google Safari: $205,196.37
•Google Street View: $86,246.10
•Affinion Group, Inc.: $18,750.00

In the GlaxoSmithKline, LLC (Avandia) case, Attorney General Hood sued to recover restitution and penalties for the company’s sales of the diabetes drug, Avandia. The AG’s complaint asserted that GSK misrepresented that Avandia is superior to alternatives in lowering blood sugar and lowering cardiovascular risks, when in fact clinical studies showed differently. As a result, the AG contended that the State was overcharged for the drug.

“In working on the settlement with GlaxoSmithKline, the company suggested that it hoped the money would go toward a positive program addressing drug abuse or obesity,” said Attorney General Hood.

“Although I don’t generally make suggestions to the Legislature about how they should do their job in appropriating funds, in an attempt to accommodate GSK’s wishes for our state, I respectfully request that the Legislature consider spending $3 million on a Reentry pilot project to create 100 beds for felons about to reenter society at a minimum security facility in Marion County from which they would work at a job during the day and receive voluntary drug, mental health and/or religious counseling at night. Similar projects have shown great rehabilitative success. I would also suggest that we spend an additional $7 million on Drug Courts. Our Circuit, County and Youth Court Judges have gone above and beyond the call of duty in making our Drug Courts successful. These judges don’t get extra pay for this, but the program needs $7 million more annually in administrative costs to continue.”

In the BASF case, the AG alleged price-fixing regarding a number of vitamins and vitamin premixes. Mississippi’s civil case followed a federal criminal case where at least 15 corporations and 15 individuals were found guilty after evidence showed they had formed an international cartel that met regularly in hotel rooms, sometimes under the fictional name ”Vitamins Inc.,” to divide up the global market and artificially raise the prices of a wide range of vitamins, including vitamins A, C and E, as well as beta-carotene, essential in the diet of virtually every American. These vitamins were found in such everyday products as Coca-Cola, Kellogg, Kraft Foods, Tyson Foods, and Sanderson Farms. The three largest violators in the conspiracy were from Germany, Switzerland and France. While other states have settled similar claims, Mississippi’s settlement is currently the largest of any state to date.

The Attorney General’s Office has recovered more than $780 million in taxpayer dollars since Attorney General Hood took office in 2004.

AG Jim Hood Press Release

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Magnolia Tribune

This article was produced by Magnolia Tribune staff.