The Financial Landscape: It's All Business at the Supreme Court; EU Firms Up on Greece

A roundup of news from around the world of finance:

Cutting Big Pharma Some Slack:
The Supreme Court continues to rule in favor of corporations over the rights of individuals -- on Thursday, it was drug companies' turn, with a cameo by data-mining firms. First, in Pliva v. Mensing, the Court ruled 5-4 that generic drugmakers "may not be sued under state law for failing to warn customers about the risks associated with their products." Three-quarters of all prescriptions are filled with generics. Two years ago, the court reached the opposite conclusion with respect to brand-name drugs; the companies that manufacture generics, however, have less control over the printing of their own labels, leading the court to exempt them from responsibility.

A second case, Sorrell v. IMS Health, turned on a Vermont law that banned a practice called "detailing," whereby drug companies use prescription information obtained from data-mining companies to market medicines to particular doctors. Vermont had sought to outlaw detailing while allowing other uses of prescription data by law enforcement, insurance companies and journalists. In a 6-3 ruling, the majority "said the case presented fundamental First Amendment issues because it restricted the use of truthful information in private hands based on the identity of the speaker and the content of its speech." The dissenters pointed out the difference between private and commercial speech, to no avail.

Google Under the Gun:
Speaking of the vaunted halls of justice, Google (GOOG) finds itself dragged there by an antitrust investigation. In a blog post published Friday morning, the company confirmed a Federal Trade Commission probe into possible anticompetitive practices. Google did not go into specifics -- claiming "it's still unclear exactly what the FTC's concerns are" -- but portrayed itself as concerned above all else with the user experience, and touted its success in creating economic opportunity. The AP reports that "the inquiry is expected to focus in large part on whether Google abuses its dominance of Internet search to extend its influence into other lucrative online markets, such as mapping, comparison shopping and travel." Competitors contend that Google's algorithms are designed to direct users "to its own sites and services" and to "bury links to competitors." There seems to be a hint of Google's defense strategy in the blog post, which declares, "Using Google is a choice -- and there are lots of other choices available to you for getting information." Whether that argument will wash with the FTC -- or the European Commission, or the attorneys general of the states of New York, California, Texas, Ohio, and Oklahoma, all of whom are said to be considering investigations of their own -- remains to be seen.

Eurozone Unites Behind Greece:
As though responding to U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's call for greater solidarity in their ranks, European Union leaders pledged to prevent a Greek debt default provided the country's Parliament passes austerity measures next week. The perceived lack of resolution among eurozone members has been cited as a threat to the world economy by officials in the U.S. and China. Now, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, leader of Europe's chief economic powerhouse, has committed the continent to doing "everything to stabilize the euro overall." European bankers also considered ways of getting around ratings agencies' stated intention to treat any rollover of Greek debt as a default.

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Does anyone now doubt the power of corporate America over us???

June 27 2011 at 11:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

All I see is ----Our freedoms, our constitution, and American lives have been hijacked------Reject DEMS, GOP, Supreme Court---Lobbyists---Greedy Corporations-----Take our country back from these CROOKS!!

June 26 2011 at 11:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Supreme Court Judges shall be appointed to a maximum of two terms----Please do not waste my tax dollars

June 26 2011 at 10:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Supreme Court...on the side of Justice....NOT.

June 26 2011 at 7:02 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

boo must be a Socialist/Communis so he is the enemy of America.

June 26 2011 at 5:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I guess you don't know that the United States is a Republic, not a Democracy, right?

June 26 2011 at 4:59 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Obama needs to find ways to punish the Republicans! Maybe through the World Bank we could deprive large corporations of revenue or punish the banks thru the Federal Reserve.They won't lend anyway so what good are they? We can even start persuading foreign countries to stop supporting offshore U.S. interests. Hey! This is War, and a lot more seroius war than we have ever fought! The Republicans are the enemies of democracy and are threatening our future by trying to create an Aristocracy or even an Oligarchy! The Republicans want to destroy our way of life! We must destroy them first! Maybe we can head off an Economic Civil War, but I doubt it!

June 26 2011 at 4:26 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to boowah's comment

Obama has punished everyone by just being in the White House........and when he's on vacation which seems to be most of the time.

June 26 2011 at 5:03 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

He is "just the president", but; we can do that at the polling place!! When people finally learn how we are getting screwed by big business, how we actually bailed them out with "our "money", and how both parties sold out the people, maybe we will get smart enough, to turn off "reality TV", and stop listening to corporate news,and start really listening to what is happening to this great country,we can vote for a real candidate! Where is he???

June 27 2011 at 11:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Let me ask all AOL employees---Are you happy you acquired HUFF POST? Did it make any difference in expansion of your business and bottomline? Which and who made this decision??

June 26 2011 at 3:10 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Bad economic and business decisions will only hurt future of the companies!!! For example---AOL simply wasted $400 millions by acquiring Huff Post. It added no business value to AOL , further AOL will have net loss of readers

June 26 2011 at 3:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is relatively a short article but has a lot more substance than "Puff Host"

June 26 2011 at 3:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply