The European Commission has dropped charges against Servier which claimed that the French drugmaker gave "misleading and incorrect information" as part of a high-profile probe into the pharmaceuticals sector and practices to delay the market entry of generics.
In July 2010, the Commission sent a ‘statement of objections’ under EU antitrust rules to Servier, saying that it had evidence that the firm had presented incorrect information in response to a competition sector inquiry which started in January 2008 and was concluded in July 2009. At the time, the Commission said if Servier “intentionally or negligently" provided misleading information, it may impose a fine of up to 1% of the total turnover of the privately-held company; the company's annual sales are around 3.6 billion euros.
However, the EC now says that "in its reply to the statement of objections Servier put forward various arguments as to why the information it supplied was neither misleading nor incorrect". The Commission has decided to close the case, "and instead focus on the substantive enforcement of competition rules in a number of pending cases, including one involving Servier".
In July 2009, the Commission opened a case against the Neuilly-sur-Seine-based company and a number of other firm for suspected breaches of the rules on restrictive agreements and on abuse of a dominant market position. This investigation is currently on-going.
Servier spokeswoman Lucy Vincent told Bloomberg the decision confirms the firm's position "and contradicts the allegations of dissimulation that were made against the group at the time".