European Commission raids Pharma companies

On 6 October 2009, the European Commission carried out surprise inspections at the premises of several pharmaceutical companies based on suspect infringements of EC Treaty provisions prohibiting restrictive business practices and/or the abuse of a dominant position.

The Commission did not release details of the investigations linked to these inspections, while the undertakings involved (Sanofi Aventis, Teva Pharmaceutical, Novartis, Ratiopharm and Ranbaxy Laboratories) have confirmed their cooperation with the Commission officials.

These unannounced inspections came just a week after Neelie Kroes, the EU Competition Commissioner, warned of antitrust cases in the coming months, during a speech given to members of the European Parliament. Earlier this year the Commission published its final report on the pharmaceutical sector inquiry. The report’s conclusion was that the market is not functioning as well as it could, mainly due to delays in entry of generic medicines to the market. [Gabriele Accardo]