The Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) said recently that it’s inspecting the premises of companies suspected of using restrictive practices to limit, delay or prevent the entry of biosimilar competition.
While the authority did not offer any details into what companies are being inspected, the authority did say that this is a preliminary step into its investigation of such restrictive practices.
“Conducting inspections does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself. The BCA respects the rights of defense, in particular, the right of companies to be heard in the course of the proceedings. The duration of the investigation will depend on several factors, including the degree of complexity of the case, the cooperation of the undertakings concerned with the BCA and the exercise of the rights of defense,”
the authority said.
Previously, Canadian and UK authorities conducted investigations into anti-competitive practices in the biosimilar space, although both investigations were closed without any action taken.
In Canada, the Competition Bureau in February discontinued its investigation into allegations that Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen inhibited the entry of biosimilars that compete with its blockbuster Remicade (infliximab).
Similar to a lawsuit filed in the US by Pfizer, which focuses on Janssen’s exclusionary tactics, the Canadian inquiry centered around whether Janssen was engaging in practices that were predatory (i.e., “deterred entry or expansion through below-cost pricing”) and exclusionary (i.e., “raised the costs of its competitors and thus made them less effective).
And the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in March closed an investigation into an alleged anti-competitive discount scheme that Merck Sharp & Dohme Limited (MSD) designed to delay or reduce competition for Remicade.