The European Union’s General Court has reduced an EU fine on the French pharmaceutical company Servier for paying off rivals to protect one of its drugs against cheaper generics.
In 2014, the European Commission fined Servier and imposed penalties on five generic drug manufacturers involved in the scheme. Several generics companies were preparing to bring rival products to market when Servier’s patent for the drug expired in 2003, but they were blocked when the French company bought a key technology needed to produce the medicine in 2004, the commission said in 2014.
Servier allegedly proceeded to pay the settlements for patent cases. The court has found that the commission had “made a series of errors” in assessing the case, notably regarding the basis on which patients would choose perindopril over other medicines.
The Luxembourg-based judges also identified mistakes in the way the commission had calculated the fines. It reduced Servier’s overall penalty and cancelled the fine on one of the generics manufacturers, Slovenian-based Krka.