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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    AC Cobra, Apr 5th, 2012 @ 6:41pm

    Big pharma is evil!

    Affordable healthcare is being blocked in part by profiteering in big pharma. Our leaders at all levels should act to condemn this. Patents where promulgated to promote the good of the people, but here they are doing the opposite.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Apr 5th, 2012 @ 7:41pm

    Re: Big pharma is evil!

    Same with copyright.

    Really, one could use this an example as to WHY copyright and patents need to be scaled back.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    BentFranklin (profile), Apr 5th, 2012 @ 8:21pm

    See what happens when you give someone a limited monopoly? Before too long they feel entitled to so much more.

    Now you've just given them all this monopoly money to play with. So the next thing they do is use it to remove the limitations on the monopoly. How is that not piracy?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2012 @ 8:41pm

    Re: Big pharma is evil!

    "Our leaders at all levels should act to condemn this."

    Then where would our leaders get jobs once they leave office? They're mostly too dumb to legitimately get jobs, no one would hire them, so they must rely on the revolving door. Think of the poor politicians!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2012 @ 10:01pm

    There should be no limits period on when someone can release generic versions of drugs. Especially on one's that can save someones life. The amount of greed displayed by these companies is absolutely preposterous.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2012 @ 10:21pm

    Re:

    Government established monopolies are nothing short of theft. We are being deprived of what we would otherwise (be able to) buy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2012 @ 11:59pm

    Presumably someone will show up explaining how the big pharma companies only have our best interests at heart, and allowing people access to generics would discourage 'innovation' in medicine.

    After all, it's not as simple as giving people access to medicine, is it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Apr 6th, 2012 @ 1:04am

    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!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Designerfx (profile), Apr 6th, 2012 @ 5:14am

    Re: Big pharma is evil!

    the sad part of this concept is - we'd be saving money in the long run if it were not for the short term profit motive by pharma.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 6th, 2012 @ 6:09am

    If people want affordable drugs in the future they will need to learn to do it themselves because trusting Pfizer and Co. to do the right thing is like trusting the devil to not be evil.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Apr 7th, 2012 @ 4:10pm

    Re:

    The devil doesn't need to be evil.

    He's got Chris Dodd for that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2012 @ 6:41pm

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    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Amber Rositter, May 31st, 2012 @ 12:39am

    Virginia Air

    Using generic drugs is not so prescribed because I think its not so safe but many individuals are prefer to use it in order to save money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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