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Antitrust Investigation Targets Major Pharma Companies in Italy

 |  June 6, 2024

Italy’s antitrust agency, the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM), has launched an investigation into several major pharmaceutical companies, including Novartis, Genentech, Biogen and Samsung Bioepis. Italy is accusing the companies of colluding to suppress competition for a biosimilar of the drug Lucentis, potentially affecting patient access and healthcare costs.

The AGCM alleges that these companies, along with some of their business units in Italy, the Netherlands, and the U.K., coordinated their strategies to delay the launch of Byooviz, a biosimilar of Lucentis produced by Samsung Bioepis and commercialized by Biogen. According to a statement from AGCM, reported by Reuters, this delay could have had significant implications for both the availability of the drug to patients and the overall expenditure in the healthcare sector.

The investigation has already led to office searches in Italy and the Netherlands.

Lucentis, an injectable eye drug, is marketed in the U.S. by Genentech and in other markets by Novartis. Byooviz, which was launched in the U.S. after Biogen sold its equity stake in Samsung Bioepis in 2022, represents a competitive alternative to Lucentis.

Related: Italy: Pharma Cartel Investigated for Knocking Cheaper Drug Off Shelves

This investigation underscores the AGCM’s commitment to ensuring fair competition in the pharmaceutical market and its potential impact on drug pricing and availability for patients.

Source: Fierce Pharma