France’s competition authority fined US healthcare group Johnson & Johnson (J&J) €25 million (US$29.6 million) on Wednesday, December 20, after it ruled the company had deliberately slowed market access to generic copies of its painkiller Durogesic.
Durogesic is sold as a skin patch to control ongoing moderate to severe pain and is often prescribed in cancer cases. It contains fentanyl, an opioid which, if misused, can lead to death by overdose.
The French Autorite de la Concurrence said J&J’s Janssen had “repeatedly intervened” to block the approval processes in France of Durogesic’s generic copies and disparaged them when in contact with doctors and other healthcare professionals.
“We firmly object to the statements contained in the competition authority’s release and to its assessments,” a spokeswoman for J&J said in an emailed statement, adding that the company was studying its options.
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