EU fines Lundbeck, 8 others 146 mln euros for blocking cheaper drugs

BRUSSELS, June 19 Wed Jun 19, 2013 5:30am EDT

BRUSSELS, June 19 (Reuters) - EU antitrust regulators fined nine drugmakers a total of 146 million euros ($195.5 million) on Wednesday for blocking the supply of cheaper medicines on the market, with a penalty of 94 million euros imposed on Denmark's Lundbeck.

The punishments follow a 2009 report by the European Commission on the pharmaceutical sector, which said "pay-for-delay" deals lead to consumers paying as much as 20 percent more for their medicines.

The European Commission, which acts as competition regulator across the 27-member European Union, imposed a 21.4 million euro fine on Germany's Merck KGaA and another 7.77 million euros on it jointly with former subsidiary Generics UK, which is now owned by U.S. generic drugmaker Mylan.

The other penalised companies were Arrow, Resolution Chemicals, Xellia Pharmaceuticals, Alpharma - which is now part of Zoetis Products LLC, A.L. Industrier and India's No. 1 pharmaceutical company Ranbaxy.

Reuters flagged the EU fines on June 3.

"Agreements of this type directly harm patients and national health systems, which are already under tight budgetary constraints," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.

"The Commission will not tolerate such anticompetitive practices."

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Find your dream retirement town

Florida? Hawaii? Reuters has teamed up with Zillow to give you the power to customize a list of your best places to retire.  Video | Full Article