Pharmaceuticals: EU Courts Lay Down the Law

The pharmaceutical industry was dealt a heavy blow Thursday as AstraZeneca’s (NYSE:AZN) 52.5-million-euro fine for breaking antitrust laws is upheld in the EU’s highest court.

The case against AstraZeneca was over the company’s ulcer drug, Losec. The drugmaker was first charged with artificially inflating the drug’s price, and later found guilty of misleading patent agencies for years in order to bar cheaper and generic competitors.

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The commission’s decision holds significant implications for both pharmaceutical companies and courts. The courts may have set a precedent¬†for cases like this, in which antitrust laws are firmly upheld against manipulative drugmakers and companies alike. Pharmaceutical companies will have to be careful ensure they follow the rules and are transparent in order to avoid legal penalties.

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