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Analyst Hits Biovail With $100-Million Suit

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May 01, 2003|From Bloomberg News

Biovail Corp., Canada's biggest publicly traded drug maker, defamed analyst Jerry Treppel after he urged investors to sell the stock, the former Banc of America Securities analyst said in a $100-million lawsuit filed Wednesday in New York.

Treppel contends that Biovail falsely accused him of criminal conduct after he issued critical research reports. A year ago, Biovail shares fell 21% when Treppel cut his rating to "sell" from "market perform."

Treppel accused Biovail of making "a desperate attempt to discredit" him by waging a media campaign claiming his report was motivated by his financial stake in Biovail's rival, Andrx Corp. As a result, Treppel said, he came under scrutiny by U.S. regulators and later quit his job.

Biovail spokesman Ken Howling said the suit was "completely without merit."

Treppel says that although he owned 21,000 shares of Andrx, which he acquired when the company was founded, he maintained his holdings in a discretionary account at UBS PaineWebber Inc. and didn't control trading of the stock.

Treppel covered Andrx and Biovail as an analyst for Bank of America Corp.'s securities arm. In his report last year, Treppel questioned the way Biovail reported sales of its blood-pressure medicine Cardizem.

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