Over the weekend, I reported on a Bloomberg story — one about which I expressed some skepticism. The story had it that some California pharmacies were in federal court, last Friday, filing a suit, to block the Pfizer/Wyeth merger — on what looked to be novel grounds. The supposed grounds were misuse of TARP funds, by Pfizer’s banks — including the same banks financing the Merck deal.
While the language summarized by Bloomberg does actually appear in the suit, this one is much more an ordinary, plain-vanilla Clayton Act and Sherman Act type of claim — than a “you can’t use TARP money that way” suit:
. . . .the conduct of the defendants and the banks financing the defendants’ merger. . . constitutes a combination and conspiracy that unreasonably restrains trade in the relevant markets. . . in the form of higher prices, diminished choice and lower quality of drugs. . . . [which conduct] violates Section 7 of the Clayton Antitrust Act, and Section 1 of the Sherman Act . . .
Interestingly though, the suit does mention the Merck/Schering-Plough deal, as being potentially anticompetitive (click to enlarge):
I guess I’d still say this has only a small chance of derailing either of these mega-mergers — even if someone were, for argument’s sake, to file a companion claim against Merck, and its banks, back here on the East Coast. I’ll keep an eye on it, just the same. Here is the full California pharmacies’ complaint, in a PDF file format.