Aetna, Blue Cross Settle Labs’ Antitrust Case

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A federal judge dismissed with prejudice an antitrust lawsuit brought by independent labs against Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Aetna, and Quest Diagnostics for allegedly conspiring to corner the medical testing market.
     Lead plaintiff Rheumatology Diagnostics Laboratory sued the companies in November 2012, claiming they were trying to squeeze competitors out of the market by giving physicians cut-rate deals through licensing agreements that effectively block independent labs from providing services.
     More than three years later, and after several amended complaints and rulings on motions to dismiss, the parties have agreed to settle according to U.S. District Judge William Orrick’s order of dismissal filed Aug. 12.
     Courthouse News was unable to obtain more details on the settlement.
     Plaintiff attorney Anne Marie Murphy of Cotchett Pitre & McCarthy in Burlingame, Calif., did not immediately return a phone call.
     A call to defendant attorney Ryan Sandrock of Sidley Austin LLP in San Francisco was not immediately returned.
     Aetna attorney Robert Mittelstaedt was not immediately available for comment.
     The parties have 90 days to notify the court if the settlement has not occurred, at which time Orrick said he would reinstate the case.

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