watchdog finds big pharma faces no competition on some drugs
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[August 10, 2017] By
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Major drugmakers
including GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Pfizer Inc face no competition in
Mexico from generics that are readily available elsewhere, partly
because of regulatory failings, Mexico's antitrust body said on
The companies have done nothing illegal, Juan Manuel Espino,
Cofece's director of economic studies, said at a presentation of the
body's probe into the Mexican drugs market, which found a lack of
promotion for generics led to limited competition.
The report, released by Cofece on Wednesday, also said some of the
companies used unspecified legal strategies to extend drug
exclusivity after patents expire. It recommended the government
tighten rules on issuing secondary patents and actively promote
Cofece also said the sector might suffer from uncompetitive
practices such as "pay-for-delay" arrangements, under which patent
holders pay alleged infringers to not challenge patents.
Generics were much slower to penetrate the Mexican market after
patents expired on brand name drugs than in Canada and the United
States, the report said.
According to a document seen by Reuters, Cofece also identified
other pharmaceutical companies with products facing no competition,
including Sanofi SA, AstraZeneca Plc, Merck & Co Inc, Novartis AG,
Janssen-Cilag SA, Abbott Laboratories, Roche Holdings AG and Eli
Lilly and Co.
Resolving the situation could save Mexican consumers 2.5 billion
pesos ($139 million) a year, Cofece said.
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"The cost of medicines for Mexican families is onerous," Cofece
President Alejandra Palacios said at the event in Mexico City.
A Janssen-Cilag SA spokesperson declined to comment until the
company had a chance to read the report. Glaxosmithkline and Pfizer
referred Reuters to Asociación Mexicana de Industrias de
Investigación Farmacéutica (AMMIF), a business chamber.
AMIIF said it was still studying the report and had no immediate
comment. None of the other firms identified by Cofece immediately
responded to requests for comment.
($1 = 17.9630 Mexican pesos)
(Additional reporting by Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Chizu
Nomiyama and Richard Chang)
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