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Summary Judgment Victory for Bristol-Myers Squibb and Major Pharmaceutical Manufacturers

On March 7, 2011, Judge Steven Brick of the Superior Court of California, Alameda County, granted summary judgment in favor of a group of pharmaceutical manufacturers and their trade group, PhRMA, in an antitrust action brought by a group of retail pharmacists in 2004 under California law. Cravath served as co-counsel to defendant Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.

The pharmacists alleged that the pharmaceutical companies conspired to inflate the prices of prescription drugs sold in the United States, including California. Summary judgment was granted for the defendants in December 2006 based on the “pass-on” legal defense, but that judgment was reversed by the Supreme Court of California in July 2010 and the case was remanded to the trial court. Defendants’ motions for summary judgment on the merits of the action were argued on February 17, 2011, and were granted with the Court finding that the plaintiffs failed to provide evidence suggesting the existence of an unlawful conspiracy.

The Cravath lawyers involved in this matter include partners Evan R. Chesler, Peter T. Barbur, Richard J. Stark and associates Brendon DeMay and Jacob M. Honigman.