PARIS/ZURICH, April 10 France's competition
authority is investigating drugmakers Roche and
Novartis on suspicion they were involved in
anti-competitive practices in respect of eye disease treatment,
the companies said on Thursday.
A statement on the authority's website said it had conducted
"search and confiscation" operations on April 8 in relation to
treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), but it
did not name the companies involved.
"We can confirm the French antitrust authorities have
started an investigation ... related to Avastin and Lucentis,"
said a Roche spokeswoman. "Our subsidiaries will fully
A Novartis spokeswoman said: "Novartis is aware of the
ongoing investigation initiated by the French antitrust
authority regarding anti-VEGF treatments for wet age-related
macular degeneration and is cooperating with the authorities on
the matter. At this time we cannot comment further on the
allegations of the ongoing investigation."
Last month, prosecutors in Rome opened an investigation into
four executives at the Swiss drugmakers on suspicion of fraud
and manipulation of the pharmaceutical market, according to
Earlier in March, Italy's antitrust authority said Roche and
Novartis colluded to try to stop cancer drug Avastin from being
used to treat AMD and fined the companies 182.5 million euros
The regulator accused the two Basel-based firms of striking
an alliance to prevent distribution of Roche's Avastin in favour
of the more expensive drug Lucentis made by Novartis.
(Reporting by Andrew Callus, Chine Labbe and Caroline Copley;
Editing by Pravin Char)