On 30 November 2010, European Commission officials carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of a number of pharmaceutical companies in several Member States. Reason was the Commission's suspicion that they may have acted individually or jointly, notably, to delay generic entry for a particular medicine.
Restrictive business practices and/or the abuse of a dominant market position are prohibited under EU antitrust law (Articles 101 and 102 EU Treaty). The companies in question risk fines and other sanctions if the Commission's allegations are confirmed. EU law provides for a procedure, including rights of defence, allowing the companies at risk to present their position.
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