The Italian Competition Authority launches an investigation in the pharmaceutical sector for generics under Art. 82 EC (Merck-Principi attivi / Imipenem Cilastatina)

The “Autorità Garante della Concurrenza e del Mercato” - the Italian national competition authority (the “Authority”) - recently started an investigation in the pharmaceutical sector under article 82 of the EC Treaty. The issue is to determine whether Merck is in a dominant position in the market for the active principle of Imipenem Cilastatina (“IC active principle”, which is currently produced by Merck, and whose patent protection will be expiring very soon in certain territories, as further explained below) and, if this abuse is caused by the refusal to grant the licence to produce the IC active principle to third parties. A few months ago, the Authority started an investigation against GlaxoSmithKline plc, Glaxo Group Limited, Glaxo SmithKline S.p.A. (“Glaxo”) (The Authority decision

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