Spanish Competition Authority investigates Pfizer for an alleged abuse of dominance

On 19 December 2012 the Spanish Competition Authority (“CNC”) opened an investigation to ascertain whether Pfizer allegedly prolonged the patent protection for its active ingredient latanaprost which thereby constitutes an abuse of its dominant position in breach of Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

According to the CNC, Pfizer acted to prolong its patent protection for latanoprost by employing strategies to obstruct or delay the introduction of generic drugs competing with Xalatan, Pfizer’s branded product for the treatment of visual glaucoma, into the Spanish market. The CNC has set a deadline of 18 months to close the investigation.

It may be recalled that in May 2011, the Italian Competition Authority accepted commitments from Pfizer to close its investigation without finding an infringement essentially with regards to the same product and issues (see Newsletter 3/2011 p. 7 and Newsletter 6/2010 p. 8 for background information). [Gabriele Accardo]