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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 29, 1999
Drug company to pay state more than $1 million for false product claims


Seattle - July 29, 1999 - State Attorney General Christine Gregoire today announced Washington will receive more than $1 million as part of a $42 million multi-state settlement with a pharmaceutical manufacturer that it claims suppressed important information about the effectiveness of its thyroid drug known as Synthroid.

Knoll Pharmaceutical, a subsidiary of BASF Corporation, prevented the publication of a study which claimed to show that the company’s marketing claim that Synthroid was "superior" to generic brands was false. Generically known as levothyroxine sodium, the drug is taken by more than eight million patients in the United States as a thyroid hormone replacement therapy.

Synthroid is the dominant and most expensive type of this product on the market. According to Gregoire, "The manufacturer was able to keep charging higher prices by suppressing the truth and misleading consumers."

Without admitting any wrong doing, Knoll agreed to stop claiming Synthroid out-performed, was more reliable and safer than its generic counterparts.

Washington will be reimbursed $14,000 for its legal costs and fees with the remainder of the million-dollar settlement going to the state general fund.

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