GlaxoSmithKline Accused of Paying Off Competitors

by Christopher Freeburn | April 19, 2013 10:24 am

UKFlag630[1]Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GKS[2]) is facing accusations from British regulators that it tried to restrain market competition[3].

The United Kingdom’s Office of Fair Trading alleges that the company paid money to Generics UK, Norton Healthcare and Alpharma to postpone the introduction of generic versions of its anti-depressant Seroxat to the British market, the BBC noted.

British regulators are awaiting a detailed response from all parties in the investigation. No decision has yet been made whether to pursue legal action.

GSK has denied allegations of wrongdoing, pointing out that payments to the generic drug makers had already been investigated by the European Commission. That investigation was concluded last year. The Commission did not pursue action against GSK.

In fact, GSK argues that its agreements with the suppliers allowed generic versions of Seroxat — also known by its chemical designation paroxetine — to enter Britain even before GSK’s patent protection for the drug had expired. Those agreements ended in 2004.

In January, more than 800 people in Europe were diagnosed with narcolepsy after receiving flu shots containing medication made by GSK[4]. The shots were given to more than 30 million people.

Shares of GlaxoSmithKline inched up slightly in Friday morning trading.

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