Pfizer Dinged For Antitrust Activities In Trying To Block Generic Drug Competition In Italy

from the ah,-patents dept

Italy only established patents for pharmaceuticals in 1978. Prior to that, it had a thriving pharmaceutical business with a ton of companies. The country was a net exporter of drugs. While many of the firms there did focus on making generics, there was significant drug discovery and R&D happening in Italy at the time as well. However, due in large part to pressure from the big international pharmaceutical firms, Italy eventually established patent protection for drugs as well. Following that, there was massive consolidation in the Italian pharmaceutical market. The country went from being a leader to just another player, and the big international pharma companies took over and to this day dominate the Italian market.

That’s a bit of interesting background for the fact that the Italian antitrust authority recently found drug giant Pfizer guilty of abusing antitrust law in the country to try to delay or block competition from generic drugs. According to the report linked here, Pfizer was specifically called out on two points:

1. the artificial extension of the Xalatan patent in Italy by means of: a) the application of a divisional patent; b) the validation of the divisional patent in Italy; c) the application for an SPC in Italy; d) the application for pediatric extension; and

2. the start of litigations aimed at discouraging or increasing the costs for the marketing of latanoprost generic products in Italy.

Pfizer is expected to appeal, and the blog post linked here (from law firm DLA Piper) suggests that it has a decent chance of having the original ruling reversed. But, really, that’s quite a change in just a few decades. From being a leader in the market — often by building on the ability to produce generics — to one where cheaper generics (which help keep people healthy in a more affordable way) are aggressively blocked from the market by activities of giant multinational pharma companies.

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Companies: pfizer

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Comments on “Pfizer Dinged For Antitrust Activities In Trying To Block Generic Drug Competition In Italy”

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Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

But, But, Patents!

Imagine if there were no pharmaceutical patents. Pharma companies would have no incentive to provide that small fraction of the costs of R&D that they already provide?imagine how crippling that would be to the totality of nonprofit/government-funded medical research! Most of these companies? own costs are not R&D, they are things like promotion, distribution and so on?but you absolutely need patents to fund these activities! No industry can fund such things without patents?that?s what patents are for, they?re not for the R&D costs at all!

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