A subsidiary of the group purchasing organization MedAssets said it settled a lawsuit by Guidant Corp. alleging that the subsidiary illegally induced hospitals to violate their confidential pricing agreements with Guidant. The case drew attention because hospitals worried that Guidant's claims might mean they cannot share supply prices even with affiliated organizations. In February, a U.S. District Court judge in St. Paul, Minn., issued a summary judgment in favor of Guidant. The national impact of the judge's decision is not yet clear.
MedAssets didn't disclose terms of the settlement but said its subsidiary, Aspen Healthcare Metrics, Englewood, Colo., didn't admit wrongdoing. Aspen had planned to go to trial on damages and then file an appeal, but last week Guidant offered a settlement, said John Bardis, MedAssets' chairman, chief executive officer and president. Bardis said MedAssets believed it was in the company's best interest to pursue the matter through public policy rather than in the courts. At deadline, Boston Scientific Corp., which recently acquired Guidant, did not return calls. -- by Joseph Mantone