Tuesday, January 12, 2010

European Commission Widens Investigation Of Potential "Pay To Delay" Deals

Several media outlets have confirmed that Merck's European operations were among the companies required to answer written inquiries from offices of the European Competition Commission, on the basis of EU antitrust rules, asking for copies of MSD's patent settlement agreements. FRom the ECC press release, today:

. . . .A selected number of originator and generic companies received an information request in which they are asked to submit to the Commission a copy of all patent settlement agreements relevant for the EU/EEA markets and concluded in the period from 1 July 2008 to 31 December 2009, as well as copies of all annexes, related agreements and amendments. In order to limit the administrative burden on companies, they were asked for copies of the agreements without additional background information. Following receipt of the responses, the Commission will analyse the agreements and publish a short report providing a statistical overview. In case a specific settlement raises additional questions, a more targeted request for information could follow. Depending on the outcome of the exercise, this round of information requests may be repeated annually for as long as the Commission considers that there is a potential problem. . . .

More background on these stories, here -- as the same relate to the European operations of New Merck, and legacy Schering-Plough. I think both Teva and Merck ought to be concerned.

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