Archives for September 25, 2003

On a more serious note,

Below I linked to somewhat humorous research about ovarian cancer prevention. When it was linked by InstaPundit, I got an email from the Senior Counsel to the Tennessee Attorney General notifying me about a somewhat related issue.

Taxol is a chemotherapeutic agent used in the treatment of several cancers, but its predominant use is the treatment of ovarian cancer. The makers of Taxol have entered into an agreement with all 50 states to refund some money to patients who got taxol between 1999 and 2003; it is a somewhat complicated story, and if you’re interested, you can read all about it at:
TAXOL/Paclitaxel Consumer Settlement Website.

So how much are we talking about here?
From a .pdf release from the Tenn AG’s office:

…an estimated $55 million agreement with the Bristol Myers-Squibb Company regarding antitrust allegations involving the cancer-fighting drug, Taxol. Tennessee joined 49 other states and U.S. territories in the agreement with the drug manufacturer and will recover part of the $55 million in claims for damages, penalties and individual consumer redress.
…The Attorneys General have set aside approximately $12 million for a nationwide consumer distribution to compensate consumers who may have paid higher prices for Taxol. Under the settlement, each participating state will receive damages incurred by certain governmental facilities that purchased the Taxol or its generic equivalent. While the ultimate allocation among the litigating states has not yet been determined, more than $37 million will be set aside to be divided for this purpose. An estimated $6 million will be used for costs of notifying the public and other administrative costs.

12.5 Mil for patients out of a 55 Mil settlement. Hmmm. If you qualify, sign up now, or the lawyers will keep it all. I guarantee they won’t give any of that money back.

Texas loses another MedMal Insurer

Although there will be smug “I told you so’s” from those who opposed Prop 12, this has very little to do with the Texas malpractice climate.
MySanAntonio : Business
Though at first it sounds quite ominous:

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. Farmers Insurance Group said Wednesday it will stop selling medical malpractice insurance, narrowing an already tight market for physicians in some of the 18 states – including Texas – that it serves.
Farmers Insurance has “suffered significant underwriting losses” recently and plans to refocus on its core lines of home, business, auto and life insurance, said Michelle Levy, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles-based insurance group.

Farmers Insurance stopped writing new medical malpractice policies Friday and plans to halt renewals Jan. 1, subject to the approval of insurance regulators in each state. The insurance group has active malpractice policies valued at $94.5 million – down sharply from the $231 million in premiums it had last year, Levy said.

In 2002, Farmers Insurance lost more than $100 million on its malpractice policies; losses this year were following a similar trend, she said.

You have to read to the last paragraph to find the real impact on Texas docs:

Farmers, through Truck Insurance Exchange, has 87 medical liability policies in Texas for a premium of about $3.5 million, a company spokeswoman said. That represents about 2.3 percent of the Texas market.

So, 87 Texas docs have to get a new insurance carrier (the avg. premium for all 87 docs is $40, 230). This is very inconvienient for them , but isn’t the end of the world. And then they’ll be able to say they aren’t insured through the Truck Insurance Exchange.

Thanks to George for the link!