The European Commission announced on Thursday that it has imposed fines totaling 13.4 million euros (approximately $14.1 million) on five pharmaceutical companies, marking the conclusion of their antitrust investigation.
The Commission levied penalties on Alkaloids of Australia, Alkaloids Corporation, Boehringer, Linnea, and Transo-Pharm for their involvement in a cartel that aimed to manipulate the minimum price of a crucial ingredient used in the production of abdominal antispasmodic drugs.
The substance at the center of this cartel was identified as N-Butylbromide Scopolamine/Hyoscine, referred to as ‘SNBB.’ SNBB serves as a vital component in the manufacturing of the abdominal antispasmodic drug Buscopan and its generic variations.
The Commission’s extensive investigation brought to light that these six companies had cooperated in fixing the minimum sales price of SNBB for their customers, which primarily included distributors and generic drug manufacturers. Additionally, they had engaged in the allocation of quotas and exchanged commercially sensitive information.
The fines imposed on these pharmaceutical companies were determined in line with the Commission’s 2006 Guidelines on fines. These guidelines provide a structured framework for calculating penalties in cases of antitrust violations.
The Commission considered various factors when setting the fines, including the value of SNBB sales associated with the violation, the complexity and multifaceted nature of the antitrust infringement, the geographic extent of the cartel’s operations, and the duration of their illicit activities.