The Commission sent Statement of Objections (“SO”) to the pharmaceutical companies Johnson & Johnson (“J&J”), of the USA, and Novartis, a generic pharmaceutical manufacturer of Switzerland, regarding a so-called co-promotion agreement concluded between their respective Dutch subsidiaries on fentanyl, a strong pain-killer. The investigation was opened by the Commission on its own initiative in October 2011. According to the Commission, the Dutch subsidiaries of Johnson & Johnson and Novartis entered into the co-promotion agreement between July 2005 and December 2006 to avoid competing against each other and thus depriving users of fentanyl in the Netherlands from access to a cheaper pain-killer. The agreement foresaw monthly payments from Janssen-Cilag, a J&J subsidiary, to Sandoz, a Novartis subsidiary, for as long as no generic version of fentanyl patches were launched in the Dutch market. Consequently, Sandoz abstained from entering the market with generic fentanyl patches for the duration of the agreement. In the SO, the Commission takes the preliminary view that the agreement delayed the market entry of a cheaper generic medicine in the Netherlands, in breach of Article 101 TFEU. Source: Commission Press Release 31/01/2013