Back in February, Prescription Access Litigation (PAL) and PAL member AFSCME District Council 37 Health and Security Plan (DC 37) announced that a settlement in a nationwide class-action lawsuit brought by DC 37 and others against EMD Serono, Inc. and Merck Serono International S.A. (jointly, Serono) (NYSE: SRA) had received preliminary approval by the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

The $24-million settlement resolves claims that Serono wrongfully encouraged doctors to prescribe the AIDS wasting drug Serostim to patients for whom it was unnecessary. Serostim is a recombinant human growth hormone manufactured by Serono to treat AIDS wasting, a condition involving profound involuntary weight loss in AIDS patients.

On August 16, the Court extended the deadline for Consumers who paid all or part of the cost of Serostim prescriptions to submit claims for payment from this settlement. The deadline has been extended to September 27, 2007. Claim forms, instructions, and answers to Frequently Answered Questions can be found on the settlement website, The deadline for Third Party Payors (insurers/health plans, union benefit funds and self-insured employers) was not extended, and has already passed.

The Court will hold its “Fairness Hearing” on October 9, 2007. At this hearing, the Court will hear testimony from the parties about why the settlement should be approved, and from any class members who have objected to the settlement on why it should not.

The Court’s August 16 order can be found here.