California Appellate Court Rules in Favor of PhRMA in Antitrust Case
Third notable Antitrust victory for the firm this week
A California court of appeal has upheld a lower court ruling in James R. Clayworth et al. vs. Pfizer, Inc. et al in a closely-watched antitrust case involving alleged violation of the Cartwright Act and the Unfair Competition Law. The question before the court was whether some pharmaceutical companies were engaging in price fixing of pharmaceuticals sold in the US. Latham & Watkins LLP was retained by Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), a U.S.-based nonprofit trade association. Plaintiffs alleged that the brand name pharmaceutical companies conspired through PhRMA to fix prices by using it to work on initiatives that would prohibit discount imports from Canada. On behalf of PhRMA, Latham filed a motion for summary judgment on the ground that PhRMA's conduct involved traditional lobbying and trade association activity protected by the First Amendment. The trial court agreed, and granted Latham's summary judgment motion and the plaintiffs appealed. The California Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that the plaintiffs did not have a factual basis to assert that PhRMA had engaged in anything other than protected activity. Both courts also held that plaintiffs failed to present evidence that the brand name pharmaceutical companies had conspired to fix prices or prohibit Canadian imports. Attached please find a copy of the opinion. The Latham team was led by Washington, D.C. antitrust partner Peggy Zwisler, with San Francisco associate Elyse Greenwald.
For more information please contact Peggy Zwisler at +1.202.637.1092