Companies

Ranbaxy, 8 others fined for blocking cheaper drugs in EU

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on March 12, 2018

The fine on Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd and Ranbaxy (UK) Ltd, is €1,03,23,000.

Indian major to appeal European Commission decision

Some more bad news for Ranbaxy. The European Commission has fined the India-based drug-maker, along with eight other firms, on the charge of delaying launch of cheaper generic drugs in the market.

Ranbaxy has been fined €1,03,23,000 (over Rs 80 crore) for delaying the marketing of its generic version of depression drug citalopram made by Danish company Lundbeck.

Ranbaxy said it would appeal the decision at a general court in the European Union as it believed it was on a strong ground.

The EC note said: “In 2002, Lundbeck agreed with each of these companies to delay the market entry of cheaper generic versions of its branded citalopram, a blockbuster anti-depressant. These agreements violated EU anti-trust rules that prohibit anti-competitive agreements.”

The generic companies fined included Alpharma (now part of Zoetis), Merck KGaA/Generics UK (Generics UK is now part of Mylan), Arrow (now part of Actavis), and Ranbaxy. The fine imposed by the European Commission on the nine companies totals €146 million.

A Ranbaxy spokesperson said the company was “disappointed with the European Union’s decision to rule its patent settlement agreement with Lundbeck, covering the anti-depression drug, as anti-competitive.”

“These events took place over 10 years ago. And the company considers that the Commission has misunderstood the facts and misapplied the law.”

Recently, Ranbaxy agreed to pay $500 million to settle criminal and fraud charges in the US. The company was charged with data falsification, among others.

Pay to delay

Settlements between innovator drug companies and generic drug-makers (which make cheaper versions of an innovative drug) are coming under the scanner, not just in the EU, but in the US as well. Authorities are viewing such “pay-to-delay” settlements as being anti-competitive, as they stymie generic competition, in the process depriving patients cheaper versions of a critical drug.

In its statement, the EC’s Vice-President Joaquín Almunia (in charge of competition policy), said: “Agreements of this type directly harm patients and national health systems, which are already under tight budgetary constraints”.

jyothi.datta@thehindu.co.in

Published on June 19, 2013

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