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The Antitrust Week In Review

Posted  March 26, 2018

Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.

AT&T Would Use Time Warner as a ‘Weapon,’ Justice Dept. Says.  The much-watched antitrust trial between the Justice Department and AT&T began on Thursday, with opening statements that presented starkly different visions for how the company’s blockbuster merger with Time Warner would fit into a media industry upturned by the internet.  Before a packed courtroom with some of the industry’s leading figures, the two sides zeroed in on the case’s central question:  Whether the deal would force consumers to pay more to watch their favorite shows on Time Warner cable channels like CNN and TNT.

U.S. judge dismisses FTC antitrust lawsuit against Shire unit.  A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission accusing a unit of Shire Plc of violating antitrust laws by abusing government processes to fend off generic competition to its antibiotic Vancocin HCl.  U.S. District Judge Richard Andrews in Wilmington, Delaware on Tuesday ruled the FTC had not met a prerequisite for bringing a lawsuit seeking an injunction in the first place by showing that Shire ViroPharma Inc. was about to violate a law.  It was unclear if the FTC would seek to revise its lawsuit, which Judge Andrews said he would allow.

U.S. says it is still reviewing Bayer’s planned Monsanto acquisition.  The U.S. Justice Department said on Wednesday it was pressing on with its review of German conglomerate Bayer’s plan to buy Monsanto and noted the two regions’ very different markets in terms of genetically modified seeds.  “While genetically modified seeds are largely prohibited in Europe, they are widely used throughout the United States.  The Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice continues to examine the effects of the proposed transaction on American farmers and consumers,” the department said in a brief statement on its website that noted that it is continuing its review.

Endo, others to pay $270.8 mln to resolve Lidoderm U.S. antitrust cases.  Endo International Plc and two other companies have agreed to pay $270.8 million to resolve class action lawsuits alleging Endo paid a generic drug manufacturer to delay launching a cheaper version of its Lidoderm painkiller patch.  The accords were disclosed in papers filed in federal court in San Francisco on Tuesday and resolve claims centered on a deal Endo reached in 2012 to settle a patent infringement case it filed against generic drugmaker Watson Pharmaceuticals.  The case is among several in recent years targeting “pay-for-delay” settlements, in which brand-name drugmakers resolve patent lawsuits by paying generic manufacturers to keep their products off the market for a longer period.

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