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Sanofi-aventis investigated by European Commission

The European Commission has launched an anti-trust investigation into pharmaceutical company sanofi-aventis
The European Commission (EC) has launched an anti-trust investigation into pharmaceutical company sanofi-aventis.

The Commission claims that the firm refused to allow officials to examine or copy documents without a search warrant, which was subsequently produced, from the French authorities.

During the inspection of the company's premises, commission officials along with officers from the French competition authority, identified documents that were relevant to the competition sector inquiry.

This inspection is part of an ongoing inquiry into the potential misuse of the patent system by pharmaceutical companies to delay market entry of competing generic drugs, including those for treating or preventing disease in humans. An initiation of proceedings does not imply that the commission has proof of an infringement.

"Individuals and governments want a strong pharmaceuticals sector that delivers better products and value for money," said competition commissioner, Neelie Kroes, commenting on the launch of the EC's investigations in January this year.

"But if innovative products are not being produced, and cheaper generic alternatives to existing products are in some cases being delayed, then we need to find out why and, if necessary, take action," she added.

3rd June 2008

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