On July 30, 2012, the Commission announced that it had issued formal charges (a “Statement of Objections”) against Servier, a pharmaceutical company, and several of its generic competitors. According to the Commission, Servier entered into various patent settlement agreements with the aim of delaying the market entry of cheap generic versions of perindopril, a cardiovascular medicine, and thus protecting Servier’s market exclusivity. In addition, the Commission alleges that Servier engaged in a strategy of acquiring key competing technologies, also with a view to delaying generic market entry. A few days earlier, the Commission revealed that it had issued similar charges against a Danish pharmaceutical company, Lundbeck, and several generic competitors. The Commission alleges that Lundbeck paid its competitors to delay the market entry of a generic version of the antidepressant citalopram. The charges against Servier and Lundbeck follow extensive investigation by the Commission into commercial practices in the pharmaceutical industry.
(The U.S. courts have also recently given consideration to the antitrust implications of payments made by patent holders to generic competitors to settle patent infringement litigation, particularly if the generic manufacturer agrees to postpone introduction of the generic drug. See the United States development section, discussing In Re: K-Dur Antitrust Litigation, No. 10-2078 (3rd Cir. July 16, 2012).)