The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

April 19, 2013

Drug maker accused of paying rival generic maker

GlaxoSmithKline target of investigation

WASHINGTON —

GlaxoSmithKline has been accused of paying other drugs companies to slow down production of generic versions of its most profitable antidepressant drug, according to the Office of Fair Trading.

An investigation into GSK has been launched by the OFT into allegations the company abused its market dominance by agreeing so-called "pay for delay" agreements between 2001 and 2004 to protect the position of its drug Seroxat.

GSK admitted agreements were reached but said they did not lead to delays in the generic versions coming to market.

Ann Pope, senior director of services, infrastructure and public markets at the OFT, said: "The introduction of generic medicines can lead to strong competition on price, which can drive savings for the NHS, to the benefit of patients and, ultimately, taxpayers.

"It is therefore particularly important that the OFT fully investigates concerns that independent generic entry may have been delayed in this case."

GSK said it refuted the allegations, adding that two similar investigations by the EU had concluded there was no wrongdoing.

But the OFT appears determined to discover if Alpharma, Genetics UK and Norton Healthcare were paid by GSK to delay production.

In a statement, the regulator claimed: "The generic companies were each attempting to supply a generic paroxetine product in competition to GSK's branded paroxetine product, Seroxat. However, in each case, GSK challenged the generic companies with allegations that their products would infringe GSK's patents. To resolve these disputes, each of the generic companies concluded one or more agreements with GSK.

"The OFT's provisional view is that these agreements included substantial payments from GSK to the generic companies in return for their commitment to delay their plans to supply paroxetine independently."

Seroxat, which is still available on the NHS, was launched in the early 1990s and became one of the biggest-selling drugs in the world, overtaking Prozac.

However, the patent came to an end in 2004 and generic, cheaper versions flooded the market, hitting profits.

A spokesman for the pharmaceutical giant said: "GSK supports fair competition and we very strongly believe that we acted within the law, as the holder of valid patents for paroxetine, in entering the agreements under investigation. These arrangements actually resulted in generic versions of paroxetine entering the market before GSK's patents had expired."

A spokeswoman for Pfizer, owners of Alpharma, said: "We are reviewing the statement of objections as it relates to a business Alpharma divested years before its acquisition by King. Pfizer, which subsequently acquired King, did not have any knowledge about this agreement, which dates to 2002. We will fully co-operate with the Office of Fair Trading regarding this matter."

A spokesman for Norton Healthcare in the US said he was unaware of the allegations and would issue a statement shortly.

Generics UK was unavailable for comment.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Injured snowy owl ready to be released ST. PAUL (AP) — A rare snowy owl that gained national attention when it was apparently hit by a bus in the nation's capital is scheduled to be released into the wild after a rehab stint in Minnesota. The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota

    April 18, 2014

  • Court case to test 'Buy the Farm' law NEW PRAGUE (AP) — A case set for trial next week is expected to test Minnesota's "Buy the Farm" law, which is meant to require utilities building high-voltage power lines to buy out farms in the way if affected landowners demand it. The case pits th

    April 18, 2014

  • Judge strikes down part of state energy law MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge ruled Friday that part of a Minnesota law designed to promote the use of renewable energy is unconstitutional because it attempts to control business that takes place outside state borders — and she barred Minnesota

    April 18, 2014

  • White House updating online privacy policy A new Obama administration privacy policy released Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites, and it clarifies that online comments, whether tirades or tribut

    April 18, 2014

  • Horse virus cases showing up in Upper Midwest BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — State officials in the Upper Midwest are cautioning horse owners about a virus that spreads easily among the animals and can lead to breathing problems, abortions and nervous system disorders. Three cases of equine herpesvirus

    April 18, 2014

  • Bear attacks spark debate: Kill them, or leave them alone? ORLANDO, Fla.—Dallas Smith thinks he has the answer to Central Florida’s black-bear threat, and he’s ready to lock and load it. “I think the fear of God needs to be put back into them,” said Smith, 47, who wants state authorities to lift restriction

    April 18, 2014

  • Tourism push plays up 'Only in Minnesota' ST. PAUL — (AP) — Say goodbye to "More to Explore." Minnesota tourism promoters ushered in a new slogan Thursday that focuses on "Only in Minnesota" experiences as part of their largest-ever advertising campaign. The revamped message kicks off a maj

    April 17, 2014

  • mfp ap pipeline photo Minnesota Pipe Line seeks to expand capacity MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Pipe Line Co. announced plans Thursday to nearly double the capacity of a crude oil pipeline that carries oil from Canada and North Dakota to the two refineries in the Twin Cities that produce most of Minnesota's and much

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Holder asserts his commitment to fighting heroin WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has been crusading for more lenient treatment for nonviolent drug offenders, making it a top priority before he is expected to leave office this year. Recently, however, he has been forced to confront

    April 17, 2014

  • Less-schooled whites lose longevity, study finds ATLANTA — Barbara Gentry slowly shifts her heavy frame out of a chair and uses a walker to move the dozen feet to a chair not far from the pool table at the Buford Senior Center. Her hair is white and a cough sometimes interrupts her speech, but she

    April 17, 2014