Drug companies rapped for anticompetitive behaviour


The Italian health ministry is following up on rulings from the country’s competition authorities and demanding billions of euros in damages resulting from anticompetitive behaviour.

The charges relate to Roche and Novartis’s alleged restriction of competition between two related antibody drugs that the two firms co-promote. Lucentis (ranibizumab) and Avastin (bevacizumab) are derived from the same monoclonal antibody that inhibits blood vessel growth.

Avastin is approved for treating certain cancers, whereas Lucentis is used to treat vision loss caused by age-related wet macular degeneration (AMD). But since Avastin is much cheaper, doctors have tended to try and use it off-label to treat AMD. The Italian authorities claim the companies made an agreement to block sales of Avastin in favour of Lucentis, and have asked for €1.2 billion (£977 million) in damages covering 2012–2014. The companies have denied any wrongdoing.

In the same action, the ministry is seeking damages from Pfizer for allegedly abusing its market monopoly position regarding the eye drug Xatalan (latanoprost), by preventing eligible generic versions from entering the market.


Related Content

Teva fined $1.2bn in pay-for-delay case

1 June 2015 Business

news image

Company illegally blocked generic competition of sleep disorder drug, and settlement terms tighten up rules on anticompetitiv...

Roche rapped for side-effect reporting failure

26 June 2012 Business

news image

European medicines regulator names and shames Swiss giant for not disclosing 80,000 instances of potential adverse drug react...

Most Commented

Ethanol to butanol conversion shows sustainable potential

13 January 2016 Research

news image

Borrowed hydrogen chemistry drives reaction to obtain useful fuel from biomass

Israeli chemists urge government to ban chemical weapons

21 July 2016 News and Analysis

news image

Open letter presses prime minister to ‘remove the curse of chemical weapons from the face of the Earth’