The European Commission has imposed fines totalling €427.7 million on the French pharmaceutical company Servier and five producers of generic medicines – namely, Niche/Unichem, Matrix (now part of Mylan), Teva, Krka and Lupin – for concluding a series of deals all aimed at protecting Servier’s bestselling blood pressure medicine, perindopril, from price competition by generics in the EU. Through a technology acquisition and a series of patent settlements with generic rivals, Servier implemented a strategy to exclude competitors and delay the entry of cheaper generic medicines to the detriment of public budgets and patients in breach of EU antitrust rules.
Perindopril is a blockbuster blood pressure control medicine and used to be Servier’s best-selling product. Servier’s patent for the perindopril molecule expired, for the most part, in 2003. The Commission found that in 2004 Servier acquired a protected technology just to stop the generic producers that were preparing their market entry. Servier never used the acquired technology.
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