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  • Schuette Encourages Michigan Residents to Register for Consumer Education Programs

    The Department of Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division offers a variety of seminars focused on keeping Michigan consumers safe and up-to-date on the tricks criminals are using to steal from consumers.

    Programs on the following topics are available: Investment Fraud, Identity Theft, Online Safety, Home Repair and Improvement, Phone, Mail and e-Scams and In-Home Care and Senior Residences. The details of each event as well as an event calendar are listed on the Department of Attorney General website. All events are free and open to the public. To attend residents are asked to contact the venue to RSVP prior to the seminar. You can also request a Consumer Protection Education Presentation in your community by submitting an online request form.

    To register your site for a presentation please complete the online registration form.

     

     



RECENT NEWS

Press Releases
Schuette Joins Multi-State Suit Against Maker of Opioid Addiction Treatment Drug Accused of Anti-Competitive Conduct

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today joined a multi-state antitrust lawsuit against the makers of Suboxone, a prescription drug used to treat opioid addiction, over allegations that the companies engaged in a scheme to block generic competitors and cause purchasers to pay artificially high prices.

Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals, now known as Indivior, allegedly conspired with MonoSol Rx to switch Suboxone from a tablet version to a film (that dissolves in the mouth) in order to prevent or delay generic alternatives and maintain monopoly profits. This conduct violates both federal and state antitrust laws.

Suboxone is a brand-name prescription drug used to treat heroin addiction and other opioid addictions by easing addiction cravings. No generic alternative in the film form is currently available.

As a result, the attorneys general of 34 states and the District of Columbia allege that consumers and purchasers have paid artificially high monopoly prices since late 2009, when generic alternatives of Suboxone might otherwise have become available. During that time, annual sales of Suboxone topped $1 billion.

“Antitrust laws are in place to ensure a fair market and competitive pricing for consumers,” said Schuette. “The unethical actions of these two companies caused prices of this drug to skyrocket for consumers. Addiction rates America are at an all-time high, the blatant actions of this company to use an epidemic for financial gain is despicable.”

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, accuses the companies of violating the federal Sherman Act and state laws. Counts include conspiracy to monopolize and illegal restraint of trade. In the suit, the attorneys general ask the court to stop the companies from engaging in anti-competitive conduct, to restore competition, and to order appropriate relief for consumers and the states, plus costs and fees.

Alleged “Product Hopping”

The lawsuit alleges the companies engaged in illegal conduct called “product hopping,” where a company makes modest changes to its product to extend patent protections so other companies can’t enter the market and offer cheaper generic alternatives.

When Reckitt introduced Suboxone in 2002 (in tablet form), it had exclusivity protection that lasted for seven years, meaning no generic version could enter the market during that time. Before that period ended, however, it is alleged that Reckitt worked with MonoSol to create a new version of Suboxone – a dissolvable film, similar in size to a breath strip.

Over time, Reckitt allegedly converted the market away from the tablet to the film through marketing, price adjustments, and other methods. Ultimately, after the majority of Suboxone prescriptions were written for the film, Reckitt removed the tablet from the U.S. market.

According to the suit, the Suboxone film provided no real benefit over the tablet and Reckitt continued to sell the tablets in other countries even after removing them from the U.S. market. Reckitt also allegedly expressed unfounded safety concerns about the tablet version and intentionally delayed FDA approval of generic versions of Suboxone.

The attorneys general of the following jurisdictions also joined in the lawsuit: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, District Of Columbia, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington.

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Schuette Kicks off 2016 Michigan Harvest Gathering Giving Campaign at Forgotten Harvest

OAK PARK ­– Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today kicked off the 26th Annual Michigan Harvest Gathering Annual Giving Campaign at Forgotten Harvest in Oak Park, announcing the 2016 Giving Goal of providing 2.1 million meals to Michigan families.

The Michigan Health and Hospital Association was on hand to present the Michigan Harvest Gathering with a $30,000 donation toward this year’s goal.

“Sixteen percent of Michigan families don’t know where their next meal will come from,” said Schuette. “The Michigan Harvest Gathering seeks to fill the shelves of Michigan food banks to ensure that every family is able to put food on the table and this generous donation from the Michigan Health and Hospital Association will fill many shelves.”

Schuette was also joined by the Michigan Secretary of State’s office, the Food Bank Council of Michigan as well as the Reverend Jim Holley of the Historic Little Rock Baptist Church in Detroit, The Michigan Health and Hospital Association and Gleaners Community Food Bank. Th event encouraged Michigan residents to make donations to their local food banks to help their neighbors in need.

Michigan residents interested in donating can find food collection sites at every Michigan Secretary of State branch, as well as at state office buildings throughout the state.

“I’m encouraging everyone in the Detroit Metro-Region to contribute to the Michigan Harvest Gathering," said Schuette. “Thank you to Forgotten Harvest for their hard work feeding families across Michigan.”

Michigan Harvest Gathering Background

Michigan Harvest Gathering was founded in 1991 by Attorney General Bill Schuette and his wife, Cynthia. Partnered with the Food Bank Council of Michigan, Michigan Harvest Gathering’s campaign has provided over 54 million meals for those in need. Since the foundation of the Michigan Harvest Gathering in 1991, nearly 10 million pounds of food, and $10 million have been raised to stock the shelves and pantries of food banks across the State of Michigan.

To donate or find out more about the Michigan Harvest Gathering visit www.fbcmich.org.   Families in need of assistance can call their regional food bank or dial 211 to learn who is serving food in their area.

MHG Oak Park

 

 

Attorney General Bill Schuette, center, thanks volunteers at Forgotten Harvest during the Southeast Michigan kickoff for the Michigan Harvest Gathering Giving Campaign. He was joined at the event by (from left) Michigan Secretary of State Chief of Staff Mike Senyko, Gleaners Community Food Bank President Gerry Brisson, Forgotten Harvest CEO Kirk Hayes, Michigan Health and Hospital Association Senior Vice President Nancy McKeague, Reverend Jim Holley from the Historic Little Rock Baptist Church and the Food Bank Council of Michigan Executive Director Dr. Phil Knight,

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Schuette Charges Ingham County Courtroom Attacker with Four Felonies Including Attempted Murder, Terrorism

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today charged Joshua Harding, 35, of Okemos, with four felonies related to his August courtroom attack on Ingham County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jonathan Roth.

Harding was charged with the following:

  • Assault To Commit Murder, a felony punishable by up to life in prison;
  • Terrorism, a felony punishable by up to life in prison; 
  • Carrying A Concealed Weapon, a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison, and; 
  • Possession of a Weapon in Jail, a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

On August 2, 2016, just prior to a jury convicting Harding of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, he allegedly removed a shank from his shirt sleeve and rushed towards Assistant Prosecutor Roth allegedly trying to stab him in the head in the middle of an open court room in downtown Lansing.

"I am thankful for the quick action of Meridian Township Police Officer Brian Canen and the Ingham County Sheriff Deputies in the courtroom and grateful that Asst. Prosecutor Roth suffered no serious injury,” said Schuette. “Prosecutors like Mr. Roth go to court every day to provide justice for Michigan victims and I am grateful for these men and women who work so hard to see justice is provided.”

Harding was charged as a habitual offender in Ingham County Circuit Court on September 22, 2016. He is currently in Ingham County Jail and is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon.

Harding was sentenced to at least 19 years in prison on September 21, 2016 on the Ingham County Criminal Sexual Conduct charge he was in court for at the time of the attack.

Terrorism Charge

The statute for a charge on terrorism states that if a defendant commits a violent felony while intending to intimidate or coerce a civilian population or affect the conduct of government a terrorism charge may be applied.

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Schuette Kicks Off 2016 Michigan Harvest Gathering Giving Campaign at Capitol Farmer's Market

LANSING ­– Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today kicked off the 26th Annual Michigan Harvest Gathering Annual Giving Campaign at the Capitol Farmer’s Market in Lansing, announcing the 2016 Giving Goal of providing 2.1 million meals to Michigan families.

Michigan Health and Hospital Association was on hand to present the Michigan Harvest Gathering with a $30,000 donation toward this year’s goal.

“In Mid-Michigan one-in-four children will go to bed hungry tonight,” said Schuette. “The Michigan Harvest Gathering seeks to fill the shelves of Michigan food banks to ensure that every family is able to put food on the table every day. I want to thank the Michigan Health and Hospital Association for this generous donation. It will provide thousands of meals to families throughout the state.”

Schuette was also joined by the Michigan Secretary of State’s office, the Food Bank Council of Michigan as well as the Greater Lansing Food Bank, The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Michigan Farmers Market Association, encouraging Michigan residents to make donations to their local food banks to help their neighbors in need.

Michigan residents interested in donating find food collection sites at every Michigan Secretary of State branch, as well as at state office buildings throughout the state.

“I ask the residents of Mid-Michigan to make a donation to help their neighbors, whether it be buying a few extra things at the grocery store or donating money instead of buying a coffee in the morning, if everyone contributes a little, we can make a big impact,” said Schuette. “I want to thank the Food Bank Council of Michigan and the Greater Lansing Food Bank for their partnership on this annual giving campaign and more importantly the work they do every day to make sure Michigan families don’t go hungry.”

Michigan Harvest Gathering Background

Michigan Harvest Gathering was founded in 1991 by Attorney General Bill Schuette and his wife, Cynthia. Partnered with the Food Bank Council of Michigan, Michigan Harvest Gathering’s campaign has provided over 54 million meals for those in need. Since the foundation of the Michigan Harvest Gathering in 1991, nearly 10 million pounds of food, and $10 million have been raised to stock the shelves and pantries of food banks across the State of Michigan.

To donate or find out more about the Michigan Harvest Gathering visit www.fbcmich.org.   Families in need of assistance can call their regional food bank or dial 211 to learn who is serving food in their area.

MHG Lansing Capitol2

From left: Michigan Secretary of State Chief of Staff Mike Senyko; MDARD Deputy Director Gordon Wenk; Greater Lansing Food Bank Executive Director Joe Wald; Attorney General Bill Schuette; Michigan Farmers Market Association Program Director Amanda Shevre, Food Bank Council of Michigan Executive Director Dr. Phil Knight and Michigan Health and Hospital Association Executive Vice President David Seaman.

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Utah Fundraiser to pay $90K and Cease Michigan Solicitations Through 2020 for Fundraising Misrepresentations

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced a settlement was reached with Utah fundraiser Corporations for Character, resolving claims they violated the Public Safety Solicitation Act. Corporations for Character has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $90,000 to the State of Michigan and to withdraw from fundraising in Michigan for four years.

“If you want to raise charitable contributions in Michigan, you have to be honest. Deceptive fundraisers that prey on the elderly and vulnerable will not be tolerated,” Schuette said. “Donors should continue to educate themselves on fundraising scams and should research charities before donating. Don’t get pressured into a quick decision.”

In April, Schuette issued a Notice of Intended Action alleging that Corporations for Character was deceiving Michigan donors by sending pledge forms to those who had not pledged and taking advantage of elderly and vulnerable call recipients.

Schuette also once again reminded donors that some telemarketers, such as Corporations for Character, keep 80% or more of each donation, encouraging donors to research their own charities and to give directly to the selected charity. For more information on professional fundraising costs, see the Attorney General’s 2015 Professional Fundraising Charitable Solicitation Report.

Case Background                                                      

In September 2015, the Attorney General’s office received a complaint from a Michigan resident regarding a Corporations for Character solicitation. The complainant alleged that she had not agreed to pledge, yet received a pledge form in the mail requesting that she fulfill her “promised pledge” of $15 by a “due date.”

Corporations for Character responded to the complaint by producing the recording of the call conducted by its solicitor. The recording confirmed that the complainant never agreed to a pledge. Concerned that Corporations for Character’s misconduct may have extended beyond the complainant, the Attorney General’s office requested additional call recordings.

Corporations for Character produced 850 call recordings. The office’s review of these recordings confirmed twenty-three violations. The violations fell in four categories: (1) the call recipient received a pledge form from Corporations for Character falsely stating that the call recipient had pledged, i.e., violations of the same sort made to the Attorney General’s complainant; (2) the call recipient did not pledge but was sent an informational pledge form with a form showing a pledge amount and a due date; (3) the call recipient’s spouse agreed to pledge, but the form was addressed to the non-pledging spouse stating falsely that that person had pledged; and (4) the call recipient was elderly or otherwise unable to understand and was taken advantage of by the professional fundraiser.

Michigan’s Public Safety Solicitation Act governs solicitations on behalf of public safety organizations and requires professional fundraisers to be licensed by the Attorney General. It prohibits misleading and deceptive acts and taking advantage of the vulnerable, and also requires licensed fundraisers to record their calls.

As part of the investigation into Corporations for Character, the Attorney General reviewed Corporations for Character’s solicitations on behalf other charitable organizations and also found violations.

Listen to examples of phone solicitations under the Public Safety Solicitation Act

In each call, the call recipient did not agree to a pledge; nevertheless, Corporations for Character followed the call by sending the call recipient a pledge form informing of his or her “promised pledge” and requesting payment by a “due date.” The call recordings also provide examples of charitable solicitations using pre-recorded audio. The calls are controlled by a live agent, but the voice heard is not live but is pre-recorded.

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