* Abbott says settles lawsuit with several retailers
* Walgreen, Rite Aid among those settling HIV drug case
* GlaxoSmithKline continues case against Abbott
By Dan Levine
SAN FRANCISCO, March 23 Abbott Laboratories
(ABT.N) has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by CVS Caremark
Corp (CVS.N), Rite Aid Corp(RAD.N) and other retailers who
accused it of unfairly boosting the price of HIV drugs, a
company spokeswoman said.
The pact does not resolve legal claims brought by rival
drug maker GlaxoSmithKline, which is still proceeding with a
court case against Abbott. The group of retailers, which also
includes Walgreen Co WAG.N, Safeway Co SWY.N and others,
had been at trial against Abbott alongside Glaxo.
The case, alleging antitrust violations over its drugs
Norvir and Kaletra, has been in trial before a federal judge in
Oakland, California, for the past few weeks.
Norvir plays a key role in AIDS-fighting cocktails because
it can boost the effectiveness of other drugs. The plaintiffs
accused Abbott of raising Norvir's price by 400 percent in an
effort to harm its competitors whose drugs were dependent on
being used in combination with Norvir.
The retailers and others have agreed to settle the case for
an undisclosed amount, Abbott spokeswoman Adelle Infante said
A Rite Aid spokeswoman declined to comment beyond
confirming the settlement. A CVS representative said the
company does not discuss ongoing litigation, and
representatives from the other pharmacies were not immediately
available to comment.
Abbott settled those claims "to eliminate the uncertainty
of litigation and put this matter behind us," Infante said.
GlaxoSmithKline and Abbott are scheduled to deliver closing
arguments in the case on Thursday. A Glaxo spokesman did not
immediately respond to a request for comment, though a court
filing shows Glaxo alleges hundreds of millions in lost profits
from Abbott's pricing.
Abbott also said it settled claims brought by a separate
class of direct purchaser plaintiffs. An attorney for those
plaintiffs did not immediately respond to a request for
The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of
California is Smithkline Beecham Corporation, doing business as
GlaxoSmithKline, v. Abbott Laboratories, 07-5702.
(Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Bernard Orr)