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EU Regulators Accuse Indian Drugmaker Alchem of Price-Fixing Cartel

 |  June 13, 2024

The European Commission has accused Indian pharmaceutical company Alchem International of participating in a cartel to fix the prices of a crucial pharmaceutical ingredient, potentially leading to significant fines for the company.

The European Commission, serving as the EU’s competition watchdog, issued a statement of objections to Alchem detailing the charges against the company. The Commission alleges that Alchem breached EU antitrust rules by colluding with other drugmakers to manipulate the market for N-Butylbromide Scopolamine/Hyoscine (SNBB). This ingredient is essential for producing the abdominal antispasmodic drug Buscopan and its generic versions.

According to the Commission, Alchem and its co-conspirators coordinated to set minimum sales prices and allocate quotas for SNBB. Additionally, they are suspected of exchanging commercially sensitive information to maintain their cartel’s effectiveness.

Related: Federal Court in Ohio to Hear Consolidated Tire Price-Fixing Cases

Margrethe Vestager, the EU antitrust chief, emphasized the impact of such activities on consumers. “As a result, European consumers may have suffered from restricted access to affordable medicines,” Vestager stated.

This accusation follows a precedent set last year when the European Commission fined several companies — Alkaloids of Australia, Alkaloids Corporation, Boehringer, Linnea, and Transo-Pharm — a total of 13.4 million euros ($14.5 million) for their roles in the same cartel. Notably, C2 PHARMA avoided fines by alerting the regulator to the cartel’s existence.

Source: Reuters