The EU Commission carried out raids at several pharmaceutical companies on 6th October 2009, as part of its investigation into anti-competitive behaviour within the industry.
Surprise inspections were confirmed at sanofi-aventis, Teva, Novartis and Ranbaxy Laboratories.
This is the third time that the EU Commission has carried out raids. In January 2008, the EU Commission raided the offices of GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, sanofi-aventis and several generic competitors, and in November 2008, Teva, Servier and Krka Group were all raided.
In a statement the EU Commission said, “The Commission has reason to believe that the provisions of the EC Treaty prohibiting restrictive business practices and/or the abuse of a dominant market position... may have been infringed.”
However the regulators stressed, “The fact that the European Commission carries out such inspections does not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself.”
The raids follow an 18-month inquiry into anti-competitive practices within the pharmaceutical industry, the findings of which were released in July 2009 (see EU - Competition Inquiry Findings Released). The inquiry found that at least 200 settlement agreements between generic and originator companies were known, and that many of these were formed to restrict generic entry onto the market.
The European Commission is already investigating Servier and some generic firms on suspicion of blocking a generic copy of the cardiovascular drug perindopril from entering the market.
Further reading - Pharmaceutical market profiles for all European countries are available from Espicom: Pharmaceutical Market Reports; Europe