Pharmaceutical cartels

17/02/2010


On 7 January 2010, the Commission announced that it was opening a formal investigation into the international pharmaceutical company, Lundbeck, which is based in Denmark.  The Commission will examine certain agreements entered into by Lundbeck with generics companies that may be delaying entry of the anti-depressant drug, citalopram into markets in the European Economic Area.

Similarly, Les Laboratoires Servier (Servier), a French based company, is being investigated by the Commission for breaches of EU competition law.  The Commission suspects that Servier may be party to agreements which restrict entry of the drug perindopril to the market. Perindopril is a cardio-vascular medicine which was originally developed by Servier.  As part of the proceedings, generics manufacturers including Krka d.d. (based in Slovenia) and Lupin Limited (based in India) are being investigated in relation to potentially anti-competitive agreements between each of them and Servier.  In these agreements the generics companies agree to hold off on launching copycat drugs in return for a payment or other consideration.

These investigations follow the Commission's recent inquiry into the pharmaceuticals sector which covered all EU member states.  The Commission reported its findings in July 2009, concluding that market entry of generic drugs is delayed and there is a decline in the number of novel medicines reaching the market.  As a result of its findings, the Commission has said that it will be increasing its scrutiny of patenting systems and any apparent anti-competitive measures adopted by companies in the pharmaceuticals industry.

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