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Reuters: Italy Launches Probe into Pharma Giants for Market Manipulation

Reuters: Italy Launches Probe into Pharma Giants for Market Manipulation

June 06, 2024

Italy's antitrust regulator has initiated a probe into several pharmaceutical giants, including Novartis, amid suspicions of anti-competitive practices in the sale of a drug targeting eye conditions. The investigation follows concerns regarding potential market restrictions and delayed product launch of Byooviz in Italy, according to Reuters.

Allegations of Coordinated Strategies

Samsung Bioepis, Biogen, Genentech, and Novartis, along with some of their subsidiaries in Italy, the Netherlands, and the UK, are accused of orchestrating coordinated commercial strategies to delay the launch of Byooviz, a drug formulated with ranibizumab and produced by Samsung Bioepis.

Byooviz, similar to Lucentis developed by Genentech and distributed by Novartis in Italy, faced alleged hindrances in its market entry.

Impact on Availability and Pricing

The purported delay in Byooviz's launch could have restricted patient access and influenced pricing dynamics, potentially affecting the affordability of treatment options. Additionally, concerns arise regarding the implications for cost-saving initiatives within Italy's national health services.

Italy's antitrust authority, with support from the finance police, conducted searches in Italy, while parallel investigations were carried out by the Dutch regulator in the Netherlands. The regulatory scrutiny underscores the commitment to ensuring fair competition and safeguarding consumer interests within the pharmaceutical sector.

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