A European Union legal adviser supported Bayer's ( BAY) attempts to prevent sales of low-priced drugs in Europe, providing a big win to the pharmaceutical industry, according to a published report.

A report in The Wall Street Journal Thursday said the European Court of Justice decided that Bayer didn't fix supplies in a bid to block trade among European countries. The decision was preliminary, and a final judgment will probably be issued later this year, according to the report.

In the 1990s, Bayer tried to stop exports of a heart treatment from lower-priced markets in France and Spain to the U.K., the Journal reported. After drug wholesalers complained that the company was limiting supplies, the European Commission said Bayer had broken antitrust laws and ordered the German drugmaker to pay a fine.

A European Union appeals court overturned that decision in 2000, and the European Commission then appealed to the Court of Justice. The court ruled that the European Commission's decision against Bayer "will remain annulled," the Journal reported.

The report also pointed out that for years pharmaceutical companies have been fighting discounters who buy medicine in bulk in cheaper countries like Spain and Greece, and sell the surplus in more expensive countries, including the U.K. and Germany. Other drug companies have introduced quota systems in low-priced EU nations to combat the discounters, the Journal said.

Separately, Bayer said it acted "responsibly, ethically and humanely" during the 1980s by selling a blood-clotting treatment that stopped bleeding in hemophiliacs but was linked to the risk of HIV infection, the Associated Press reported. The company issued the statement in response to an article in The New York Times that said a Bayer division sold an older version of the medication in Asia and Latin America while marketing a newer and safer product in the U.S. and Europe.

Shares of Bayer were up 7 cents, to $19.95, and the Amex Pharmaceutical Index was higher by 0.9%.