On monday EU antitrust regulator launched an investigation into possible anti-competitive disparagement by Vifor Pharma of its closest rival Pharmacosmos in an apparent attempt to hinder competition against its iron medicine.
Executive vice president Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Competition in the pharmaceutical sector is important. It provides access to affordable and innovative medicines to patients. The dissemination of misleading information regarding the safety of Pharmacosmos’ iron deficiency treatment, Monofer, may have delayed its uptake. This would ultimately harm patients by stifling competition from an innovative medicine. Today we launched an in-depth investigation to assess whether this is the case.”
The Commission has indicated that for many years, Vifor Pharma may have been disparaging Monofer (iron isomaltoside) by spreading misleading information regarding its safety. The Commission is concerned that Vifor Pharma pursued a misleading communication campaign, primarily targeting healthcare professionals, which may have unduly hindered Monofer’s uptake in the European Economic Area (EEA). Approximately 1.8 million patients suffering from iron deficiency are currently being treated with high-dose intravenous iron products annually in the EEA.
If the Commission’s concerns are proven, Vifor Pharma’s behavior may amount to an abuse of dominant position and infringe Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and Article 54 of the EEA Agreement.
The Commission will now carry out its in-depth investigation as a matter of priority. The opening of formal proceedings does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.
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