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Novartis and Roche fined over 180 mn euros by anti-trust

Companies 'colluded to favour use of more expensive drug'

05 March, 12:44
Novartis and Roche fined over 180 mn euros by anti-trust (ANSA) - Rome, March 5 - Italy's Antitrust authority said Wednesday that it had fined Swiss pharmaceutical companies Novartis and Roche a total of over 180 million euros for alleged collusion to manipulate the market in Italy.

"The two companies made an illegal agreement to hamper the spread of the use of a very cheap pharmaceutical, (Roche's) Avastin, in the treatment of the most widespread eye pathology among the elderly and other serious eye diseases, to favour a much more expensive product, (Novartis's) Lucentis, artificially differentiating the two products," read an Antitrust statement. It added that this had cost the Italian national health service over 45 million euros in 2012 alone and that the additional costs in the future could potentially reach 600 million euros a year.

Novartis, which was fined 92 million euros, and Roche, which was handed a 90.5-million-euro penalty, have both said the accusations are groundless and will appeal to the administrative courts.