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Novartis, Abbott targeted by Indian watchdog over allegations of price collusion

Published on 14/12/17 at 10:58am

Novartis, Abbott, Emcure Pharma and USV have become the targets of an investigation by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) over allegations they worked together to hike the price of blockbuster anti-diabetic drug vildagliptin, sold under the brand name Galdus.

The industry watchdog has launched a probe into the activities of the four companies surrounding the drug, sending each a notice requesting trade details in order to determine whether they had engaged in price collusion. The CCI also said it is investigating the involvement of senior executives in the matter.  

Vildagliptin is a DPP 4 inhibitor designed to improve blood glucose control in type 2 diabetes patients, particularly over older classes of drugs in the same space. The drug is owned by Novartis and licensed to Abbott, Emcure and USV. The firm reported that the drug generated $61 million this year, with the combined brand recording sales of £122 million.

Economic Times reported in February that a whistle-blower within the industry had reached out to a number of Indian regulatory bodies claiming that Novartis controlled the pricing structure for vildagliptin and, though there was no written communication between them, the four companies intentionally synchronised each of their price changes, matched to the lowest decimal. Charts confirming that dosages of the drug had been priced within similar ranges were provided alongside the claims.

Matt Fellows

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