November 28, 2008

EU says drug firms blocked generics

The European Commission has accused drug companies of blocking the entry of cheaper generic drugs into Europe, adding billions to the cost of medicine.

In a report from Brussels, the EU said anti-competitive practices ranged from initiating lawsuits to hold up competing products to filing multiple patent applications for the same medicine.

In one case of patent clustering, the report cited 1,300 patents filed for a single medicine, the Financial Times said.

Patent litigation cases involving generics, meanwhile, lasted an average of nearly three years.

Although the report does not name individual companies, Neelie Kroes, EU competition commissioner, said there likely would be follow-up action against those that had breached EU laws.