2 Bedford Row was well represented in the successful defence teams in Operation Holbein (the ‘Pharmaceuticals’ case), in which the Serious Fraud Office alleged price fixing in respect of drugs supplied to the NHS by a number of multinational pharmaceuticals companies. Peter Griffiths QC acted for an individual defendant (instructed by Harrow Solicitors), Peter Lodder QC acted for Generics (UK) Ltd (instructed by SJ Berwin LLP), and Alison Pople acted for Goldshield Group Plc (instructed by Jones Day). The Court of Appeal refused to grant leave to the SFO for an application to appeal the decision of Pitchford J, who had refused the SFO’s application to amend the indictment in July of this year. This followed an earlier ruling in the House of Lords delivered in March 2008, when the Appellate Committee concluded that the SFO could not found an allegation of conspiracy to defraud merely on evidence of price fixing, and that proof of aggravating features was required. This judgment of the Court of Appeal confirms the arguments advanced by the defence teams before Pitchford J. This decision brings to an end, two and a half years after charge, and before a jury was ever sworn, the largest and most expensive case ever brought by the SFO.
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