Commission Gets Active Again In The Pharmaceutical Sector: First-Ever Cartel Decision In Relation To An Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient

October 19, 2023

On October 19, 2023, the Commission imposed fines totalling €13.4 million on five pharmaceutical companies (Alkaloids of Australia, Alkaloids Corporation, Boehringer, Linnea, and Transo-Pharm) for their participation in a cartel in relation to an active pharmaceutical ingredient.

This is the Commission’s first-ever cartel decision in the pharmaceutical sector, adding to the Commission’s extensive enforcement action against pharmaceutical companies.

The decision involves the companies listed above and immunity recipient C2 PHARMA, all of which are producers and/or distributors of N-Butylbromide Scopolamine/ Hyoscine (“SNBB”), an input for the production of abdominal antispasmodic drugs.  The Commission found that the six firms exchanged commercially sensitive information and agreed to: (i) fix the minimum sales price of SNBB to distributors and generic drug manufacturers; and (ii) allocate sales quotas.  The Commission found that the conduct constituted a single and continuous infringement, which lasted from November 1, 2005 to September 17, 2019.

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