Sun. Jul 3rd, 2022

The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess whether Vifor Pharma has restricted competition by illegally disparaging its closest – and potentially only – competitor in Europe on the market for intravenous iron treatment, Pharmacosmos.

Vifor Pharma’s conduct appears to be aimed at hindering competition against its blockbuster high-dose intravenous iron treatment medicine, Ferinject. The Commission is concerned that Vifor Pharma pursued a misleading communication campaign, primarily targeting healthcare professionals, which may have unduly hindered Monofer’s uptake in the European Economic Area (‘EEA’).

If the Commission’s concerns are proven, Vifor Pharma’s behaviour may amount to an abuse of dominant position and infringe Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU’) and Article 54 of the EEA Agreement. The Commission will now carry out its in-depth investigation as a matter of priority. The opening of formal proceedings does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Competition in the pharmaceutical sector is important. It provides access to affordable and innovative medicines to patients. The dissemination of misleading information regarding the safety of Pharmacosmos’ iron deficiency treatment, Monofer, may have delayed its uptake. This would ultimately harm patients by stifling competition from an innovative medicine. Today we launched an in-depth investigation to assess whether this is the case”.

A press release is available online.