Consumers may get money back for purchasing the drug Remeron or its generic equivalent, Mirtazapine, between June 15, 2001, and Jan. 25, 2005, as a result of a $36 million nationwide settlement with drug maker Organon USA Inc. and its parent company, Akzo Nobel N.V., for improperly monopolizing the U.S. market for the drugs.

Consumers will begin seeing numerous public service announcements and advertisements this week in publications such as Reader's Digest, Parade, USA Today and many others. The settlement is subject to court approval before it can become final.

"Investigations into Organon exposed that it used business tactics to prevent competition, resulting in consumers paying higher prices for the drugs because they did not have access to a low-cost, generic equivalent," Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro said.

The lawsuit alleged Organon unlawfully extended its monopoly by improperly listing a new "combination therapy" patent with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In addition, the complaint alleged that Organon delayed listing the patent with the FDA to delay the availability of lower-cost generic substitutes. This resulted in higher prices to those who paid for the drug. Remeron, at its peak, was Organon's top-selling drug with annual sales in excess of $400 million.

Consumers can obtain a claim form and more information about the settlement by calling the toll-free number, 866-401-6807, or by visiting www.RemeronSettlement.com. Eligible consumers must file claim forms with the administrator no later than June 13, 2005, in order to be eligible for a possible refund.

The address to mail in the form is Remeron Antitrust Settlement, c/o Complete Claim Solutions, Inc., P.O. Box 24769, West Palm Beach, Fla. 33416.

Affected consumers who do not wish to remain part of the settlement class must exclude themselves in writing on or before April 27, 2005. Information on opting out of the settlement also is available at the settlement Web site or by calling the toll-free number.

The settlement, if ultimately approved by the court, will resolve both claims brought by state attorneys general, as well as a private class-action suit. Complete Claim Solutions, Inc., of West Palm Beach, Fla., is assisting the states as the claims administrator for the settlement.