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EU Launches Formal Probe into Zoetis Over Alleged Competition Violations

 |  March 26, 2024

The European Commission has initiated a formal investigation into Zoetis, a leading animal health company, amidst concerns over potential breaches of competition rules. The inquiry centers around allegations that Zoetis may have impeded the launch of a rival pain medication for dogs, marking a significant development in the ongoing scrutiny of monopolistic practices within the pharmaceutical industry.

Announced by the European Commission on Tuesday, the probe signifies a pivotal moment in regulatory efforts to address antitrust issues not only in Big Tech but also in the realm of Big Pharma. The investigation will delve into whether Zoetis engaged in exclusionary tactics, possibly stifling competition and innovation in the market for veterinary medicines.

At the heart of the matter is Zoetis’ product, Librela, touted as the first monoclonal antibody medicine sanctioned in Europe for alleviating pain associated with osteoarthritis in canines. However, concerns have arisen regarding Zoetis’ actions regarding a potential competitor’s late-stage pipeline product aimed at addressing similar canine pain issues.

The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, has highlighted Zoetis’ acquisition of this competing product and subsequent decisions to halt its development and withhold transferal to a third-party commercialization partner. Such maneuvers, if found to be exclusionary, could run afoul of EU antitrust regulations.

In response to the announcement of the investigation, Zoetis remained tight-lipped, declining to offer immediate commentary on the matter. However, the news took a toll on the company’s stocks, with shares dipping by 1.4% following the disclosure of the EU’s antitrust probe.

The European Commission emphasized the gravity of the situation, noting that this marks the first formal investigation into the termination of a pipeline product intended for commercialization by a third party. Such actions, if deemed anticompetitive, could have far-reaching implications for Zoetis and potentially incur hefty fines, with penalties reaching up to 10% of the company’s global turnover under EU antitrust laws.

Source: UK News Yahoo