Lundbeck on Thursday announced that the General Court of the European Union concluded that the company's agreements with a number of drugmakers to delay the launch of generic versions of the antidepressant Celexa (citalopram) were anticompetitive. The ruling upheld a decision from the European Commission in 2013 to fine Lundbeck 93.8 million euros ($105.7 million) related to the accords.
The Danish drugmaker had appealed the European Commission's ruling, arguing that the regulator made a number of errors in reaching its decision. The European Commission initially launched an investigation into potential anticompetitive activity in the pharmaceutical sector in 2008.
Lundbeck said it "strongly disagrees with...the General Court's judgment," adding that the "agreements did not restrict competition and did not go beyond the protection already offered by society via [the company's] patent rights." The Danish drugmaker indicated that it will review the decision before deciding whether to appeal to the European Court of Justice.
Other companies that appealed fines issued by the Commission as part of the investigation included Merck KGaA, Mylan's Generics UK unit, Allergan's Arrow division, Sun Pharmaceutical and Xellia Pharmaceuticals. Merck said it would consider an appeal against the latest decision.
In 2013, the US Supreme Court rendered a decision permitting litigation to be filed against drugmakers who enter into pay-for-delay agreements.
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