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Chinese court rules against J&J in monopoly suit
BEIJING—Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson has become the latest global company accused of misconduct in China after a court ordered it to pay damages to a distributor in a lawsuit brought under an anti-monopoly law.
The ruling by a Shanghai court expands use of the vaguely worded, five-year-old anti-monopoly law and raises the possibility of action against other foreign companies. It comes amid Chinese investigations of possible bribery, price-fixing and other misconduct by global suppliers of milk, pharmaceuticals and other products.
“This case is a warning to companies, including Chinese and foreign ones, that the Chinese government is increasing the intensity of anti-monopoly investigations,” said Wang Xiang, a lawyer for the firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. Johnson & Johnson was found guilty of “vertical monopoly” for setting minimum prices its distributors could charge for surgical sutures, according to the ruling. This caused the Chinese distributor to lose potential sales and awarded 530,000 yuan ($85,000) for lost profits.
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