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EU Antitrust Complaint Filed Against Edwards Lifesciences by Indian Rival Meril

 |  May 13, 2024

U.S. heart valve manufacturer Edwards Lifesciences finds itself at the center of an EU antitrust complaint filed by its Indian competitor, Meril. The complaint alleges anti-competitive practices related to patents, potentially amplifying the scrutiny of EU regulators on Edwards.

Meril, known for its innovative contributions to the medical field, has taken the legal route by lodging a complaint with the European Commission, according to statements provided to Reuters. The clash between the two companies has been long-standing, with battles over heart valve patents echoing in courtrooms across the globe for several years.

Edwards Lifesciences, a prominent player recognized for its transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) device in heart surgery, has been under regulatory radar since last year when the EU antitrust watchdog raided its premises on suspicions of market power abuse, as per Reuters reports.

Meril’s complaint specifically targets Edwards’ global unilateral pro-innovation policy, which Meril alleges aims to stifle competition by obstructing interactions between doctors and entities labeled as patent copiers by Edwards.

Moreover, Meril has raised concerns over Edwards’ patent practices, citing instances of evergreening and patent thickets. Evergreening, a controversial tactic in the pharmaceutical realm, involves extending patents on products through minor alterations, while patent thickets refer to the practice of securing multiple patents for minor variations on a single invention.

In response to these accusations, Edwards has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, asserting that it has lawfully secured injunctions against Meril’s Myval system in seven countries and the Unified Patent Court for infringement of its SAPIEN valve and accessory patents.

Edwards defended its actions by claiming that it pursued legal action against Meril due to what it perceives as substantial copying of its technology, rather than fair competition and independent innovation. The company emphasized the importance of intellectual property rights in fostering innovation, stating that such protections are indispensable in advancing life-saving therapies that benefit millions of patients worldwide.

Source: Reuters