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A seven-member Supreme Court will decide a high-stakes pharmaceutical industry dispute over the extent to which companies can use rivals’ patented drugs to conduct their own research and development, the Court announced Friday.

In granting review in Merck v. Integra Lifesciences, the Court noted that Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Stephen Breyer did not participate in the decision, which likely means they will sit out the decision on the merits as well. They did not announce why, but both own Merck common stock, according to their 2003 financial disclosure statements.

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