Antitrust: Commission fines Lundbeck and other pharma companies for delaying market entry of generic medicines
EU News 297/2013
Brussels, 19 June 2013
The European Commission has imposed a fine of € 93,8 million on Danish pharmaceutical company Lundbeck and fines totalling € 52,2 million on several producers of generic medicines. In 2002, Lundbeck agreed with each of these companies to delay the market entry of cheaper generic versions of Lundbeck's branded citalopram, a blockbuster antidepressant. These agreements violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit anticompetitive agreements (Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union – TFEU). These generic companies were notably Alpharma (now part of Zoetis), Merck KGaA/Generics UK (Generics UK is now part of Mylan), Arrow (now part of Actavis), and Ranbaxy.
Citalopram is a blockbuster antidepressant medicine and was Lundbeck's best-selling product at the time. After Lundbeck's basic patent for the citalopram molecule had expired, it only held a number of related process patents which provided a more limited protection. Producers of cheaper, generic versions of citalopram therefore had the possibility to enter the market. Indeed, one of them had actually started selling its own generic version of citalopram and several other producers had made serious preparations to do so.
Source and additional information:
Joaquín Almunia Date: 19/06/2013 Reference: P-023540/00-12 Location: Brussels - EC/Berlaymont (C)EU, 2013 URL