EU names Teva in cardiovascular drug antitrust case

Posted on August 21, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized |

The European Commission has filed a Statement of Objections against Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) and several other generic drug companies over a patent infringement settlement with France Servier SA, which the Commission says delayed the entry of generic versions of Servier’s perindopril, a cardiovascular medicine, in violation of EU antitrust rules. The investigation is continuing.

The other companies mentioned by European Commission are. Unichem Laboratories Ltd. and its subsidiary Niche Generics UK Ltd., Matrix (today Mylan Laboratories Ltd. (NYSE: MYL)), Slovenia company Krka dd (Ljubljana: KRKG), and India’s Lupin Ltd. (BSE: 500257). The European Commission also names two Teva subsidiaries Teva Pharmaceuticals Europe BV, and Teva UK Ltd.

In the statement of objections, the European Commission takes the preliminary view that Servier and generic competitors had agreed to limit competition to perindopril and that, as part of a comprehensive strategy, Servier had acquired competing technologies. These practices could have aimed at preserving Servier’s position with regard to perindopril, which was about to reach the end of its patent protection.

The European Commission opened proceedings against Servier and other companies in July 2009. The competition inquiry into the pharmaceutical sector had indicated a number of structural and behavioral problems that potentially led to distortions of competition and delays to entry of new, innovative as well as cheaper generic medicines into the EU market. In its final report, the Commission made a number of recommendations to address these problems, and particularly emphasized stronger competition law enforcement especially with regard to patent settlements.

A Statement of Objections is a formal step in Commission investigations into suspected violations of EU antitrust rules.

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