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French Pharmaceutical Servier Loses Court Battle Against EU Fine

 |  June 27, 2024

French pharmaceutical company Servier has lost its appeal against a hefty EU fine for delaying the market entry of generic versions of its top-selling blood pressure medication, perindopril. The Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union upheld the decision to fine Servier and several generic drugmakers for their “pay-for-delay” agreements, reported Reuters. 

The European Commission had initially fined Servier €331 million ($354 million) in 2014, alongside other pharmaceutical companies including Teva, Unichem and its subsidiary Niche, Matrix (now known as Mylan Laboratories), Krka, and Lupin. These fines were issued in response to deals made between 2005 and 2007, which antitrust regulators argued were designed to keep cheaper generic drugs off the market.

In 2018, a lower tribunal reduced Servier’s fine to €228 million, citing errors in the EU regulators’ analysis. However, both Servier and the EU competition watchdog appealed the decision. The latest ruling by Europe’s highest court has confirmed the Commission’s original stance.

“The Court dismisses the appeals of Lupin, Niche Generics, Unichem Laboratories, Matrix, Teva and Biogaran. It thereby confirms the judgments of the General Court that held that the agreements concluded by Servier and Biogaran constituted market-exclusion agreements and restricted competition,” the judges stated.

These companies now remain liable for the fines imposed by the Commission. The European Commission had accused Servier of attempting to shield its perindopril product from competition within the EU market. In defense, the pharmaceutical industry has argued that such pay-for-delay deals are a means to avoid protracted and expensive litigation.

Source: Reuters