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Lundbeck still 'appalled' by EC's €94m anti-competition fine

Will appeal, but doesn't expect a quick decision

Danish pharma company Lundbeck 

Two and a half months after the European Commission (EC) hit it with a €93.8m penalty for anti-competitive behaviour Lundbeck has started appeal proceedings in a bid to overturn the decision or reduce its fine.

An EC investigation concluded in June the Danish pharma company had collaborated with several other companies to delay the entry of generic competition for its big-selling antidepressant Celexa/ Cipramil (citalopram).

Launching its appeal, Lundbeck's senior VP, corporate legal, Mette Carlstedt said the firm “remains appalled by the EC's decision, adding that it “errs in a number of highly important aspects”.

"Through our appeal we aim to have a thorough legal assessment of the case that sets legal precedent which is of the highest importance to us and all other innovative companies," she said

Lundbeck acknowledged that it won't face the prospect of a quick win in its challenge, saying it expected a decision to take two to three years and that a final ruling could be as much as six years away.

In the meantime the company will still have to pay the fine and is planning to do so during the third quarter of this year.

Lundbeck's contention is that the EC's decision contained “several serious legal and factual errors” and it wants the European Union's General Court to either annul the EC's decision and/ or reduce the fine that was imposed.

“The errors in the Commission's decision include misinterpreting the main criterion to determine whether an agreement restricts potential competition as established in case law and ignores key facts of the case.

“The decision also contains manifest errors regarding its assessment of value transfers in the context of patent settlement agreements,” Lundbeck said.

In total the EC hit eight companies, among them Alpharma (now part of Zoetis), Merck KGaA and Ranbaxy, with penalties worth a total of €146m, but Lundbeck with its €93.8m fine bore the brunt of this.

Article by
Dominic Tyer

3rd September 2013

From: Regulatory

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