The Italian Competition Authority launches an investigation against pharmaceutical companies suspected of restricting drug sales (Roche / Novartis)

On February 6, 2013, the Italian Competition Authority ("ICA") launched a cartel investigation against Hoffmann-La Roche ("Roche"), Novartis, their respective Italian subsidiaries, and Genentec, a US company controlled by Roche and in which Novartis holds a 33% shareholding. The companies are suspected to have agreed to restrict the therapeutic applications of Avastin, a drug marketed by Roche, in order to advantage the sales of Lucentis, which is marketed by Novartis. Avastin is a drug patented by Genentech. It is treatment for patients with colon cancer, but it also cures certain ophtalmic diseases (i.e. wet age-related macular degeneration). However, the use of Avastin for the cure of ophthalmic diseases is possible only “off-label”, because Roche has not requested the

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Giovanni Scoccini, The Italian Competition Authority launches an investigation against pharmaceutical companies suspected of restricting drug sales (Roche / Novartis), 6 February 2013, e-Competitions Intellectual property, Art. N° 51809

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