[Ip-health] WSJ: Italy Fines Novartis, Roche for Alleged Collusion on Drug Sale

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Tue Mar 4 23:49:42 PST 2014


Italy Fines Novartis, Roche for Alleged Collusion on Drug SaleAntitrust
Body Claims Swiss Pharmaceutical Giants Colluded to Exclude Cheap Drug

March 5, 2014 2:10 a.m. ET

MILAN---Italy's antitrust authority said Wednesday it fined Swiss
pharmaceutical giants Roche Holding AG and
Novartis<http://quotes.wsj.com/CH/NOVN> AG  for
having allegedly colluded to exclude the sale of a cheap drug used for
serious sight problems.

The competition authority said it fined Novartis EURO 92 million ($126.3
million) and Roche EURO 90.5 million.

It said the two companies allegedly agreed to exclude from the market a
drug called Avastin, used in the treatment of serious eyesight problems and
instead channeled demand toward a more expensive drug called Lucentis. It
said since 2011 they did so "through an artificial distinction between the
two products," describing Avastin as more dangerous than Lucentis to
influence prescriptions by health services and doctors.

The authority said it estimated that the alleged "anticompetitive
agreement" cost the Italian national health service around EURO 45 million in
additional costs in 2012. Increased future costs may exceed EURO 600 million a
year, it added.

Novartis and Roche didn't immediately comment.

Write to Giovanni Legorano at giovanni.legorano at wsj.com and Giada Zampano at
giada.zampano at wsj.com

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