The EC opened an investigation into whether the French drugmaker, Sanofi-Aventis, had illegally obstructed an inspection of its premises in January 2008. The inspection was part of the EC’s sector inquiry into competition in the pharmaceutical sector. The EC stated that Sanofi-Aventis refused to let inspectors examine and copy certain documents until the French authorities produced a national search warrant. The EC will investigate whether Sanofi-Aventis’s refusal amounts to a failure to cooperate with an inspection, a conduct punishable by a fine of up to one percent of the company’s annual turnover. Earlier this year the EC fined German energy group, E.ON, e38 million for the breach of a seal during an antitrust inspection.