BRUSSELS Dec 10 European Union antitrust
regulators fined drugmakers Johnson & Johnson and
Novartis a total of 16 million euros ($21.95 million)
on Tuesday for blocking the sale of a generic painkiller in the
The European Commission said in a statement that the deal
between the two companies meant patients did not have access to
the cheaper generic version of fentanyl for 17 months starting
from July 2005.
Johnson & Johnson and its Dutch unit, Janssen-Cilag, were
fined 10.8 million euros while Novartis and its Dutch
subsidiary, Sandoz, were fined 5.5 million euros.
"Today's decision should make pharmaceutical companies think
twice before engaging into such anti-competitive practices,
which harm both patients and taxpayers," EU Competition
Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said.
This is the second crackdown by the Commission against
so-called pay-for-delay deals where brand-name drugmakers pay
generic companies not to market rival versions of their medicine
which usually cost a fraction of the original drug.