Zee Media Bureau
London: Britain’s consumer watchdog, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has accused drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) of paying off rivals to delay launches of their own versions of GSK’s best-selling antidepressant drug, Seroxat.
The Office of Fair Trading has launched an investigation into GlaxoSmithKline, alleging that the drug company has infringed competition law with Alpharma Limited, Generics (UK) Ltd and Norton Healthcare Ltd over the supply of paroxetine, a cheaper version of Seroxat, between 2001 and 2004.
While GSK admitted to reaching agreements with its rivals, the drug company also said it had “acted within the law”.
Ann Pope, senior director of services, infrastructure and public markets at the OFT, said: “The introduction of generic medicines can lead to strong competition on price, which can drive savings for the NHS, to the benefit of patients and, ultimately, taxpayers.
“It is therefore particularly important that the OFT fully investigates concerns that independent generic entry may have been delayed in this case.”
Refuting the allegations, GlaxoSmithKline, however said that two similar investigations by the EU had concluded where there was no wrongdoing.