EU Barks, Can’t Bite Big Pharma

December 9th, 2008 | Sources: Wall Street Journal

Was that Big Pharma sighing relief or did the wind pick up a bit?

Back in January the European Commission began investigating potentially anticompetitive behavior by raiding the European corporate offices of every player in the space from Astra to Zeneca.

There followed months of extensive investigations and more raids all of which culminated in the release of a report last Friday.

The 400 page document detailed unseemly practices and suggested they might have cost European health care systems $4 billion between 2000 and 2007.

It was accompanied by threats to take down the first company that crosses any lines, but no criminal charges were filed.

In fact no company was accused of anything.

The report decried the way Big Pharma creates legal minefields for generic competitors by filing hundreds of ridiculous patents for its drugs, lobbing frivolous lawsuits in their path, and even paying-off the generics makers to shelve their products.

“These practices delay generic entry and lead to health care systems and consumers paying more than they would otherwise have done for medicines,” noted the Commission.

But the best line of the day belonged to Bayer’s CEO Arthur Higgins, who scoffed “there is nothing in this report that is unlawful.”

Well maybe not. But the Commission’s report is only preliminary. It’s got few more months to dig before the final report is released, and it you know it wants to fry some fish.



  1. online medication | 16/12/08

    It is unbelievable how many hoops a generic drug maker has to jump through to get their product on the market. We have made the prescription drug market uncompetitive.

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