Wednesday, 11 December 2013 - 12:02
EC fines Dutch firms €16.3M for generic drug deal
Almere-based Sandoz and Tilburg-based Janssen-Cilag face a total of about $16.3 million from the European Commission for delaying the market entry of a cheaper generic version of the pain-killer fentanyl in the Netherlands. The companies involved in breaching EU antitrust rules. The commission imposed a fine of about €10.8 million on Janssen-Cilag and about €5.5 on Sandoz. In July 2005, the companies concluded an anticompetitive agreement to delay the market entry of fentanyl, which is a pain-killer 100 times more potent than morphine. It is used notably for patients suffering from cancer. The agreement delayed the entry of a cheaper generic medicine for 17 months and kept prices for fentanyl in the Netherlands artificially high - to the detriment of patients and taxpayers who finance the Dutch health system. “The two companies shockingly deprived patients in the Netherlands, including people suffering from cancer, from access to a cheaper version of this medicine. Today's decision should make pharmaceutical companies think twice before engaging into such anticompetitive practices, which harm both patients and taxpayers," said Commission Vice-President Joaquín Almunia, who is in charge of competition policy. Janssen-Cilag is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. Sandoz is a subsidiary of Novartis.