European Commission imposes fine on nine pharma cos including Ranbaxy
The European Commission imposed a fine of 146 million euro on nine pharma companies, including Ranbaxy Laboratories, for delaying market entry of cheaper generic versions of Danish company Lundbeck’s branded citalopram, an anti-depressant.
What is the case?
Danish pharmaceutical company Lundbeck has been selling a blockbuster anti-depressant medicine Citalopram which was, till 2003, its patent. However, when its basic patent for the citalopram molecule had expired and it was left with only a number of related process patents which provided a more limited protection. Producers of cheaper, generic versions of citalopram therefore had the possibility to enter the market. But the company, in 2002, entered in agreements with several generic drug makers, including Ranbaxy, to delay the market entry of cheaper generic versions of Lundbeck’s branded citalopram. These agreements violated the EU antitrust rules that prohibit anti-competitive agreements (Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — TFEU). These agreements not only violated the rules but also harmed patients and health systems which could have benefited form cheaper generic drugs.
Ranbaxy Laboratories has been fined euro 10.32 million (over Rs.80 crore). A fine of euro 93.8 million on Danish pharmaceutical company Lundbeck and fines totaling euro 52.2 million on several producers of generic medicines have been slapped.