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Misinformation charges against Servier dropped

Published on 30/01/12 at 09:19pm

The European Commission has dropped a case against Servier in which the French manufacturer was accused of providing misleading information.

The proceedings were part of the Commission’s wider investigation into anti-competitive behaviour in the pharma sector – and it has made clear that dropping this case does not mean Servier is off the hook.

The European body says instead that it intends to “focus on the substantive enforcement of competition rules in a number of pending cases, including one involving Servier”.

The case it has closed relates to “suspected provision of misleading and incorrect information in reply to a request for information” from the Commission’s inquiry.

In a statement, the investigators said Servier put forward various arguments as to why the information it supplied was neither misleading nor incorrect.

The Commission closed the case rather than carrying out the “significant further investigation” that it says would be required.

But it is continuing with the one it opened against Servier and other companies in July 2009, which hinged on suspected breaches of rules on restrictive agreements and abuse of a dominant market position.

At issue, according to the Commission, were potentially restrictive agreements between Servier and generics companies including Lupin, Matrix Laboratories, Unichem Laboratories subsidiary Generics and Teva UK.

The case against Servier is that these deals may have deliberately hindered access by European consumers to generic perindopril, a cardiovascular medicine developed by Servier.

But at the time the Commission made clear that opening those proceedings did not imply that there was proof of wrongdoing.

The pharma competition inquiry, which ran between 2008 and 2009,  was particularly concerned with looking at whether generics were delayed getting to market.


Adam Hill

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