6/5/2013 7:38:00 AM
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For the second time in recent weeks, a federal judge has dismissed lawsuits filed by unions that claimed the coupons issued by drugmakers interfered with their health plans and violated racketeering and anti-trust laws by masquerading as bribes and kickbacks.
The latest victory went to Bristol-Myers Squibb, which was charged with defrauding the union health plans by offering discounts directly to consumers in a bid to preserve market share for its Abilify anti-psychotic. In April, a similar case against Merck (MRK) was dismissed by a different federal Judge. In a 35-page decision, US District Court Judge Paul Oetken rejected all of the arguments made by the unions – the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees District Council 37 and Sergeants Benevolent Association – but would allow them to refile their suits concerning charges that the drugmaker allegedly misreported industry benchmark prices.
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