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Home News & Events COMPETITION LAW NEWS: Commission Investigates Pharmaceutical Companies Johnson & Johnson, Novartis

COMPETITION LAW NEWS: Commission Investigates Pharmaceutical Companies Johnson & Johnson, Novartis

Wednesday, 30 November 2011 20:15

Two significant pharmaceutical companies, US-based Johnson & Johnson as well as Swiss-based Novartis are subject to an investigation by the EU Commission which is assessing whether their contractual arrangements are in breach of Competition Rules specifically Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU), that is whether such arrangements may have the object or effect of hindering the entry into the Dutch market of generic versions of a pain killer know as Fentanyl.

The investigation into the pharmaceutical sector is not new to the EU Commission, and indeed, during recent years, it had already carried out its inquiry on the relative sector (like for example against Servier, Lundbeck and Cephalon for possible violations of EU Competition Rules) with a particular emphasis on alleged practices by certain companies to delay the market entry of generic medicines which delay could cause significant influence on the consumers’ choice of certain medicine mostly as a result of the patent settlements between the originator and the generic companies.

Vice President of the Commission responsible for Competition Policy, Joaquín Almunia is quoted to have remarked, "Pharmaceutical companies are already rewarded for their innovation efforts by the patents they are granted. Paying a competitor to stay out of the market is a restriction of competition that the Commission will not tolerate."