The UK Office of Fair Trading believes deals to delay generic drugs infringed competition laws
The UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has said that GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) deals to delay generic drugs infringed competition laws. The body has issued a ‘statement of objections’ covering deals made between GSK and three generics companies over marketing of the antidepressant paroxetine (Seroxat).
GSK has responded to the statement, saying that it believes the deals were a lawful way to protect its patent rights, and that the agreements still resulted in generic paroxetine products entering the market before GSK’s patents expired.
Alpharma, Generics UK and Norton Healthcare all agreed to delay introducing their generic versions of paroxetine in exchange for substantial payments. This allowed GSK to maintain its market exclusivity and charge premium prices for Seroxat tablets.
Such pay-for-delay deals are coming under increasing scrutiny in the US and Europe. However, GSK says that the European Commission investigated this trio of deals in 2005–6 and 2008–9, and concluded no further action was necessary.