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EU: Almunia eyes possible Roche, Novartis collusion

 |  May 6, 2014

European Commissioner Joaquin Almunia has reportedly confirmed that he is “gathering information” regarding allegations that pharmaceutical giants Roche Holding and Novartis colluded to prevent the sale of an eye disease treatment in favor of selling the treatment’s more expensive counterpart.

Almunia answered reporter questions Monday and confirmed that the Commission would “assess whether further action is needed” regarding the matter, but declined to elaborate. A formal investigation has not been opened.

Italian regulators fined the companies more than $254 million in 2012 for similar allegations. Italy’ antitrust regulator sanctioned the firms after finding that the companies colluded to block eye disease medicine Avastin so a more expensive drug, Lucentis, could be sold. The companies jointly market for Lucentis.

Novartis is appealing Italy’s decision.

Almunia told reporters, however, that the case in Italy will not impact the Commission’s actions on the matter, and does not necessarily indicate similar anticompetitive conduct by the companies in other EU member states.

Full content: Bloomberg

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