European Commission raids pharma companies

On 30 November 2010, the European Commission confirmed that it carried out inspections at the premises of a number of companies (Nycomed and AstraZeneca have both confirmed to have been “raided” by Commission’s officials) active in the pharmaceutical sector in several Member States.

The Commission has concerns that these companies may have acted in breach of European competition laws, in particular to delay entry in Europe of generic drugs (esomeprazole) used to cure heart burn.

There is no legal deadline for completing inquiries into anticompetitive conduct. Their duration depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of each case, the extent to which the undertakings concerned cooperate with the Commission, and the exercise of the rights of defense. [Gabriele Accardo]