EU regulators charge Lundbeck, others over generics

BRUSSELS Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:51am EDT

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU antitrust regulators charged Danish drugmaker Lundbeck, German peer Merck and seven other firms with blocking the entry of cheaper generic medicines into the market in a move that could lead to fines for the companies.

The European Commission said on Wednesday the tactic breached EU antitrust rules. It also warned of further action against French drugmaker Servier and several generic rivals in the coming days for a similar offence, related to another medicine.

Reuters had reported on Tuesday that the EU watchdog would act against Lundbeck and Servier.

The Commission said Lundbeck's action together with four generic competitors related to the antidepressant citalopram.

"The companies entered into agreements that foresaw substantial value transfers from Lundbeck to its four generic competitors, who subsequently abstained from entering the market with generic citalopram," the Commission said in a statement.

It also sent the statement of objections or charge sheet to Generics UK, Arrow, Resolution Chemicals, Xellia Pharmaceuticals, Alpharma, A.L. Industrier and Ranbaxy.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Rex Merrifield)

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