(Adds Sanofi comment)
BUDAPEST/PARIS, July 29 Hungary's competition watchdog GVH has raided the Hungarian headquarters of French drug maker Sanofi as the first step of proceedings against the firm for suspected abuse of its dominant market position.
A Sanofi spokeswoman confirmed that the Hungarian watchdog had searched the company's offices on July 22. She said the group is "fully cooperating" with the regulator's procedure, which concerns the conclusion of wholesale trade contracts.
"The company is confident that it has at all times complied with all applicable laws and regulations," she said.
The watchdog said in a statement on Tuesday it had launched the probe after Sanofi, which sells several drugs in Hungary, refused to sign a contract with a drug wholesale company.
"The suspicion arose that Sanofi-Aventis... applies a practice in choosing its drug wholesale partners in which the selection is not based on the expected real economic efficiency of the link, while putting certain groups of market players into unjustified disadvantageous position relative to incumbent market players," GVH said.
Sanofi acquired Aventis in 2004, creating Sanofi-Aventis. In 2011, the company simplified its name to Sanofi. (Reporting by Sandor Peto in Budapest and Natalie Huet in Paris, editing by William Hardy)