Hood wants settlement funds to go to prison, courts
by MBJ Staff
Published: February 20,2014
Tags: Affinion Group Inc., appropriation, Attorney General's Office, BASF Corporation, bench, corrections, court, crime, drug court, general fund, GlaxoSmithKline (Avandia), Google Safari, Google Street View, Jim Hood, justice, law, law enforcement, LCD, legal, Lender Processing Services Inc., Mississippi Legislature, prison, settlement, state government, State of Mississippi, Toyota
JACKSON — Attorney General Jim Hood has 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 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.
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