August 10, 2001
A Boston-based consumer coalition has filed a class-action lawsuit against Schering-Plough Corp., manufacturer of the popular antihistamine Claritin. The suit, filed in New Jersey state court, charges the company with misrepresenting the benefits of the drug in its advertising.

The coalition, know as Prescription Access Litigation (PAL) accused Schering-Plough of overstating the drug's benefits, thereby creating demand and driving up the price it's able to charge.

It's the fourth suit that PAL has filed this year against large pharmaceutical companies. A suit filed in May accuses Barr Laboratories and AstraZeneca of illegally keeping a generic version of a breast cancer drug off the market, forcing patients to pay the much higher costs of its name-brand product, tamoxifen.

PAL attorney Stephen Rosenfeld said the group's goal is to bring down the rising cost of prescription drugs. He noted that Claritin costs about a third as much in Canada, where it is sold over the counter, as in the U.S.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cited Schering-Plough in the past for violating FDA regulations in its Claritin ads aimed at consumers.