Another Loss for the Robinson-Patman Act

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In Drug Mart Pharmacy Corp. v. American Home Products Corp., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11582 (E.D.N.Y. Aug. 16, 2012), Magistrate Judge Steven M. Gold gave the Robinson-Patman Act another drubbing. He granted summary judgment for the defendants in this complex, long pending antitrust litigation between retail pharmacies and various pharmaceutical companies.

Numerous independently owned retail pharmacies claimed that five manufacturers of brand name prescription drugs offered discounts and rebates to their competitors in violation of the Robinson-Patman Act prohibition on price discrimination. In order to establish their losses, the pharmacies set out to compare their customers with the customers of favored pharmacies for the brand name prescription drugs in question. The “matching” process showed a very low number of lost customers. On average, each plaintiff pharmacy lost less than 200 customers and 537 transactions over the entire period examined — a 12-year time frame from 1998 to 2010.

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