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Parliamentary questions
14 November 2016
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 130
Piernicola Pedicini (EFDD) , Eleonora Evi (EFDD)

 Subject:  Aspen Pharma's anticompetitive practices

On 14 October 2016, the Italian Antitrust Authority fined Aspen Pharma, EUR 5 million for abuse of its dominant position and for fixing unfair prices for a group of life-saving and irreplaceable anticancer drugs: Alkeran (melphalan), Leukeran (chlorambucil), Thioguanin (thioguanine) and Purinethol (mercaptopurine).

These products do not have any direct substitutes and, despite the fact that the patents for them expired long ago, no generic versions are available.

After purchasing this group of drugs from GlaxoSmithKline, Aspen Pharma entered into negotiations with the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA) with a view to obtaining significant price increases, despite the absence of any valid economic justification. By means of an aggressive negotiating strategy, including a threat to interrupt the supply of these drugs to the Italian market, Aspen obtained price increases ranging from 300% to 1500%.

Taking into account the fact that the products in question are used in many Member States, can the Commission investigate whether the aforementioned practices have been use in other EU countries as well, in breach of Article 102 TFEU, causing shortages of such drugs? If so, does it intend to use its powers to put a stop to this infringement?

Last updated: 2 December 2016Legal notice