BRUSSELS (Dow Jones)--The European Commission said Thursday it has closed an antitrust investigation into possible deals between pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca PLC (AZN) and Nycomed SCA after finding no wrongdoing.
"The investigation focused on suspected individual or joint action to delay the market entry of generic medicines," the commission, which has antitrust powers in the European Union, said in a statement. "Such behavior if established would have been contrary to EU antitrust rules that prohibit restrictive business practices and the abuse of a dominant market position," it said.
The commission's antitrust authorities have in recent years specifically targeted the pharmaceutical sector to ensure companies don't restrict competition from generic drugs to the detriment of patients. The efforts are part of governmental efforts in Europe and elsewhere to cut drug prices across the board to limit spiraling health-care costs.
Ensuring the free flow of generics is considered necessary to help bring down medication costs by as much as 80%, allowing governments and state health insurers to save billions of euros.
-By Alessandro Torello, Dow Jones Newswires; +32 2 741 14 88; firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, March 01, 2012
EU Finds No Wrongdoing After Nycomed, AstraZeneca Probe - WSJ.com