Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


SEATTLE – Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced that Washington’s Medicaid program, the University of Washington Medical Center and other public health providers will share part of $14 million national settlement with the manufacturer of the drug Paxil.

“Washington and other states allege that Paxil’s manufacturer filed baseless patents and engaged in sham litigation against competitors in an effort to keep a generic version of the drug from entering the market,” McKenna said. “As a result, state hospitals and the Medicaid program paid much higher prices for patient prescriptions. This settlement helps recover some of those expenses.”

Washington will receive nearly $333,000, the majority of which will be allocated to the Department of Social and Health Services’ Medicaid program. Each state’s share is based on Paxil purchases made between January 1998 and September 2004 through Medicaid.

Paxil and generic equivalents are used to treat depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Attorneys general nationwide sued SmithKline Beecham Corp., doing business as GlaxoSmithKline and SmithKline Beecham, concerning allegations that the pharmaceutical manufacturer monopolized the market for its branded drug, Paxil, and generic counterparts.

The settlement follows a 2005 settlement in a private class-action suit, Nichols v. SmithKlineBeecham, that concerned essentially the same conduct. That suit resulted in recoveries for consumers and third-party payers, but excluded government entities. Details are available at www.paxilclaims.com.

Washington’s share of the multi-state settlement will be paid to the DSHS Medicaid Program, Department of Labor & Industries, University of Washington Medical Center, Western State Hospital and Eastern State Hospital.


Media contacts:

Kristin Alexander, Public Information Officer, (206) 464-6432, kalexander@atg.wa.gov

Mark Brevard, Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division, (206) 464-7030