EU Competition Commissioner Threatens Drug Makers

November 28, 2008

(ChattahBox) — The EU Competition Commissioner, Neelie Kroes, accused drug makers of breaching anti-trust laws.  Big drug companies are accused of abusing their patents by blocking or delaying generic drugs coming to the market that are more affordable to the consumers. She threatened that although it is an early case the commission will not hesitate to open anti-trust cases against the drug companies where there are indications of breach of anti-trust laws.

Kroes stated that governments end up paying more for the national health insurance because generic drugs do not become available in timely fashion. She accused that companies that develop and sell original medicines often prevent generic drugs from entering the market once the patent expires.

The commission inspected samples of medicines whose patents were due to expire between 2000 and 2007. It found that if the generic drugs would have been available in the market immediately it would have saved EUR 3 billion to the consumers in 17 countries. Consumers end up paying 3 billion Euros more to the drug makers due to their patent law suit tactics and keeping cheaper medicines away from the market.

The EU spends about 430 Euroes per person each year i.e. nearly 214 billion Euros on medicines every year. The generic drugs cost nearly 90 percent cheaper than the branded drugs. Savings from these drugs could have been 14 billion Euros from 2000 to 2007.


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