FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         CIV
MONDAY, MAY 5, 1997                                (202) 616-2777
                                               TDD (202) 514-1888

               FOUR FIRMS WILL PAY U.S. $12 MILLION

     WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Four blood product companies and their
affiliates will pay the United States more than $12 million to
reimburse several federal health care insurance programs, under a
settlement announced today by the Justice Department.

     Assistant Attorney General Frank Hunger of the Civil
Division said the four companies--Alpha Therapeutic Corporation,
Armour Pharmaceutical Company, Baxter Healthcare Corporation and
Bayer Corporation--each will pay a specific percentage of the
total amount.  Alpha will pay 15 percent; Armour and Baxter 20
percent each; and Bayer 45 percent.

     From 1978 through 1985, the four companies provided blood
products that may have resulted in patients acquiring HIV. 
Individuals entitled to benefits under federal health care
programs who became infected with HIV after receiving blood
products from the companies during that time were, in many
instances, entitled to have those federal programs defray their
health care costs.

     When a company that receives its payment from a federal
health care program is subsequently required to pay damages to a
federally insured patient, the United States can seek to be
reimbursed for its payment under federal law.  The $12,188,100
would be the federal government's payment under the law.

     As part of the proposed settlement, each patient who chooses
to sign a separate settlement with the companies -- which would
entitle them each to $100,000 -- would agree not pursue any
claims against the United States.

     The agreement announced today would settle claims by
patients entitled to benefits under CHAMPUS; health benefit plans
offered by the Department of Defense and the Department of
Veterans Affairs; Medicare; Medicaid; the Indian Health Service
program; and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.
     The settlement, negotiated by the Civil Division's Torts
Branch and signed April 30, must be approved by U.S. District
Court in Chicago.  In addition to the Justice Department's
settlement, the court will also consider a request made on behalf
of the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee and by the four companies
seeking a global settlement.     
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