Australia Fines Pharmaceutical On Criminal Cartel Charges

Alkaloids of Australia and its former export manager, Christopher Kenneth Joyce, have each been charged with 33 criminal cartel offences, contrary to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, formerly the Trade Practices Act 1974, following a criminal investigation by the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Alkaloids of Australia produces and supplies the active pharmaceutical ingredient SNBB (scopolamine N-butylbromide, also known as hyoscine butylbromide), which is the active pharmaceutical ingredient in antispasmodic medications taken to relieve stomach pain and bowel cramps.

The ACCC alleges that Alkaloids of Australia and other overseas suppliers of SNBB made and gave effect to arrangements to fix prices, restrict supply, allocate customers and/or geographical markets, and/or to rig bids for the supply of SNBB to international manufacturers of generic antispasmodic medications.

The allegations extend over a period of almost 10 years, beginning on July 24, 2009, when criminal cartel laws came into force in Australia.

“Cartel conduct, such as price fixing, market and customer allocation, and bid rigging, is a very serious breach of the law,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

Want more news? Subscribe to CPI’s free daily newsletter for more headlines and updates on antitrust developments around the world.