Home > Anti-monopoly

Drugmaker Servier loses EU court fight over pay-for-delay deals

Post Time:2024-06-28 Source:Reuters Author:Foo Yun Chee Views:

BRUSSELS, June 27 (Reuters) - French drugmaker Servier on Thursday lost its court battle against a European Union fine for deals with rivals to delay sales of generic copies of its top-selling blood pressure medicine perindopril.

The European Commission fined Servier 331 million euros ($354 million) in 2014 - and also fined generic drugmakers Teva (TEVA.TA), Unichem and its subsidiary Niche, Matrix which is now known as Mylan Laboratories, Krka and Lupin - for their so-called "pay-for-delay" deals between 2005 and 2007.

Antitrust regulators on both sides of the Atlantic have for years been cracking down on such deals, where brand names pay rivals to delay the launch of cheaper generic versions of their drugs.

A lower tribunal cut Servier's fine to 228 million euros in 2018, citing errors in EU regulators' analysis, after the company challenged the EU decision. Both Servier and the EU competition watchdog then appealed to Europe's top court.

The Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union backed the Commission.

"The Court dismisses the appeals of Lupin, Niche Generics, Unichem Laboratories, Matrix, Teva and Biogaran. It thereby confirms the judgments of the General Court that held that the agreements concluded by Servier and Biogaran constituted market-exclusion agreements and restricted competition," judges said.

"Those companies therefore remain liable for the fines imposed by the Commission," they said.

The Commission said Servier aimed to protect perindopril from competition in the EU. The pharma industry argued that pay-for-delay deals help to stave off lengthy and costly litigation.

The cases are C-144/19 P Lupin v Commission, C-151/19 P Commission v Krka, C-164/19 P Niche Generics v Commission, C-166/19 P Unichem Laboratories v Commission, C-176/19 P Commission v Servier and Others, C-197/19 P Mylan Laboratories and Mylan v Commission, C-198/19 P Teva UK and others v Commission, C-201/19 P Servier and others v Commission and C-207/19 P Biogaran v Commission.