Information on Guidant Corp. prices thats at the core of a legal dispute will remain unavailable to the public, although summary judgment briefs in the case will be unsealed. A U.S. District judge in St. Paul, Minn., made the ruling in response to a request by Public Citizen, which argued that the records were important to the public interest and should be unsealed. The judge ruled that Guidants interest in keeping the information secret generally outweighed Public Citizens interest in obtaining access. An attorney for Public Citizen said the ruling was a partial victory and the consumer group likely will appeal.
The dispute centered on the disclosure of Guidant prices by Aspen Healthcare Metrics to hospital members of MedAssets, Aspens parent company. Aspen and MedAssets argued that the hospitals owned the pricing information and should be allowed to share it. Guidant contended that Aspen wrongfully induced the hospitals to breach confidentiality agreements. Guidant, now part of Boston Scientific Corp., won a summary judgment in its favor in February. -- by Joseph Mantone