European Commission suspects pharma group Teva broke antitrust rules

The European Commission has informed Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA.TA) of its preliminary view that the company breached European Union (EU) antitrust rules with practices aimed at delaying competition to multiple sclerosis product Copaxone.

The Commission first carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of several Teva subsidiaries in October 2019 and in March 2021 initiated an investigation over its practices relating to Copaxone, which is widely used to treat multiple sclerosis.

“There is not yet a treatment for the chronic illness of multiple sclerosis, so innovative medicines can make a major difference to patients’ quality of life,” the Commission’s competition policy head Margrethe Vestager said on Monday.

“Effective protection of intellectual property is key to this scientific progress. Our concern is that Teva may have misused the patent system to shield itself from competition.”

If the European Commission’s preliminary views are confirmed, Teva’s behaviour would infringe Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which prohibits the abuse of a dominant position.