GlaxoSmithKline Gets £38M Fine Slashed in Antidepressant Pay-For-Delay Case
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The United Kingdom’s Competition Appeal Tribunal has reduced GlaxoSmithKline’s £37.6 million fine, which it received for suppressing competition in the drug market, by 40 per cent.

The drug company was hit with the fine, and others totaling £44.99 million, in 2016, when it was convicted of paying drug makers Generics UK and Alpharma to delay the entry of generic paroxetine into the market, Law360 reports.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) produces the antidepressant under the brand name Seroxat.

The deals, which ran between 2001 and 2004, resulted in the National Health Service paying more than it needed to for the antidepressant, according to the Competition and Market Authority (CMA), and when the generic versions were released prices plunged more than 70 per cent in two years, Law360 reports.

The CMA advocated for a 10 per cent reduction in the fine. However, the tribunal said that “taking account of all the above factors in the manner discussed, we think that as a matter of proportionality an overall reduction of 10% is much too low.”

The competition appeal body said that a 40 per cent reduction was appropriate, and slashed the £37.6 million fine down to £22 million. It also reduced several other related fines, Law360 reports.

The tribunal did note that: “the appropriate level of reduction is inevitably an evaluative assessment and not a matter of precise calculation.”

GSK has been appealing the fines since they were handed down in 2016, but delays in the European Court of Justice have held up any final decisions. In 2020, the court said that pay-for-delay deals could break EU law if they had “a negative and appreciable effect on competition within the internal market,” Law360 reports.

In the U.S., GSK is facing legal action over popular heartburn medication Zantac. In June 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked for the popular heartburn medication Zantac to be withdrawn from the market after it was linked to a known carcinogen. A number of drug manufacturers, including GSK, were hit with civil actions by scores of consumers claiming they developed cancer after using Zantac.

Do you use medication produced by GlaxoSmithKline? How do you feel about the company’s actions? Let us know in the comments section!

The GlaxoSmithKline Fine Appeal is GlaxoSmithKline PLC v. Competition and Markets Authority, Case No. 1252/1/12/16, in the U.K. Competition Appeal Tribunal.

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