The Office of Fair Trade in the United Kingdom released a statement today stating that:
The OFT alleges GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) concluded agreements which infringed competition law with each of Alpharma Limited (Alpharma), Generics (UK) Limited (GUK) and Norton Healthcare Limited (IVAX) (‘the generic companies’), over the supply of paroxetine in the UK. The OFT also alleges GSK’s conduct amounted to an abuse of a dominant position in the same market.
The generic companies were each attempting to supply a generic paroxetine product in competition to GSK’s branded paroxetine product, Seroxat. However, in each case, GSK challenged the generic companies with allegations that their products would infringe GSK’s patents. To resolve these disputes, each of the generic companies concluded one or more agreements with GSK.
The statement released goes on to say that GlaxoSmithKline (hereafter GSK) paid substantial amounts of money to each of the above listed ‘generic companies’ to stall the release of paroxitine. It is also noted in the report that Seroxat, a brand-name version of peroxetine, was “one of GSK’s best selling medicines…”
Ann Pope, Senior Director of Services, Infrastructure and Public Markets at the OFT, said:
‘The introduction of generic medicines can lead to strong competition on price, which can drive savings for the NHS, to the benefit of patients and, ultimately, taxpayers. It is therefore particularly important that the OFT fully investigates concerns that independent generic entry may have been delayed in this case.
‘No assumption should be made at this stage that there has been an infringement of competition law. We will carefully consider the parties’ representations to the Statement of Objections before deciding whether competition law has in fact been infringed.’
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