EU Court of Justice upholds Lundbeck fines over pay-for-delay

Home/Policies & Legislation | Posted 07/05/2021 post-comment0 Post your comment

On 25 April 2021, Danish drug company Lundbeck and four generic drugmakers lost their appeal against European Union antitrust fines of Euros 146 million (US$172 million), imposed in 2013.

Pay for Delay DrugsMoneyGeneric V13F21

Lundbeck was initially fined by the European Commission (EC), for making deals to delay sales of generic copies of its anti-depressant citalopram, following its patent expiration in 2002 [1]. It was uncovered that Lundbeck made payments to four generics manufacturers (Merck, Alpharma, Arrow and Ranbaxy), and in exchange those manufacturers agreed to refrain from entering the market. These ‘pay-for-delay’ deals were seen to be anticompetitive and in violation of the EU’s antitrust rules. This led to Lundbeck being fined US$110 million, and its potential, yet halted, rivals received collective fines of US$61.7 million.

In September 2016, the five companies challenged the fine at the European General court, but the original decision was upheld.

Now, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) dismissed all motions and again upheld the original decision that the companies had made deals aimed at blocking rivals. It was evident that the reverse payments were broadly equivalent to the generics manufacturers expected profits if they had entered the market or to the damages that they could have been awarded following successful litigation against Lundbeck. Regarding this, ECJ judges stated that the payments made by Lundbeck induced the generics manufacturers to discontinue efforts to enter the market and this practice is particularly harmful to competition.

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Reference
1. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Lundbeck and 4 generics makers fined for pay for delay deals [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2021 May 7]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Policies-Legislation/Lundbeck-and-4-generics-makers-fined-for-pay-for-delay-deals

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