The European Commission has ended its probe into alleged infringement of  antitrust rules by AstraZeneca and Takeda's Nycomed unit.

The investigation focused on "suspected individual or joint action to delay the market entry of generic medicines", the subject of the Commission's  pharmaceutical sector-wide competition inquiry which started in January 2008 and concluded in July 2009. Later, in November 2010, it launched unannounced inspections at the premises of AstraZeneca and Nycomed in several European countries.

At the time, AstraZeneca told PharmaTimes World News that the inspections related to alleged practices regarding the antiulcerant Nexium (esomeprazole) in Europe. Now the company says it is pleased that the Commission has ceased its investigation, adding that "we take compliance with all laws seriously and have a fundamental commitment to doing business in an ethical and proper manner".

Nycomed sent a statement to PharmaTimes World News expressing a similar sentiment, noting that it has been "fully compliant with all applicable laws and regulations and we are pleased to see this confirmed by the Commission".

The latter added that it continues to "regularly monitor potentially problematic patent settlements". It has also opened antitrust investigations against Servier, Lundbeck, Cephalon (now owed by Teva) and Johnson & Johnson for possible violations of EU competition rules, including practices involving generic companies.