McKesson HBOC Inc., the largest U.S. drug wholesaler and a leading health-care software designer, said Tuesday it has sued rival W3Health Corp. and 12 former McKesson HBOC employees, accusing them of stealing software trade secrets.
W3Health denied the allegations, saying in a news release that McKesson is bullying a rival that's created a superior product and is trying to discourage McKesson workers from leaving for better jobs.
The suit was filed in Massachusetts Superior Court in Middlesex County, San Francisco-based McKesson said.
The suit alleges that W3Health's competing DRS computer software was based on iMcKesson's Clinical Resource Management System.
CRMS is a McKesson unit's reporting and analysis software used by managed-care organizations and other providers to organize health-care delivery.
The suit alleges that Wilmington, Mass.-based W3Health recruited the 12 former McKesson workers, who the suit says were involved in developing and marketing McKesson's CRMS.
McKesson shares rose 81 cents to close at $25.75 on the New York Stock Exchange.
"McKesson HBOC is using an increasingly common business tactic: suing a potential competitor that has developed a superior product," W3Health Chief Executive Doug Percy said.
"We believe this is an obvious effort to slow down our growth and also to deter other McKesson employees who may be considering leaving the company for brighter futures elsewhere."