Roche and Novartis colluded over wet AMD drugs, says Italian regulator

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 10 March 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2006
  1. Deborah Cohen
  1. 1BMJ

The Swiss drug companies Roche and Novartis have been fined €180m (£150m; $250m) by Italy’s competition authority for allegedly colluding to prevent the use of the cheaper of two drugs in the treatment of wet age related macular degeneration.

The Italian regulator accused the two companies of striking an alliance to prevent the use of Roche’s bevacizumab (which it markets as Avastin) as a treatment for wet age related macular degeneration in favour of the more expensive ranibizumab (Lucentis), made by Novartis.

Both drugs were developed by Genentech, which Roche acquired in 2009, but only Novartis holds the licence to sell ranibizumab outside the United States. Bevacizumab is approved only as a cancer treatment, though both drugs act by inhibiting vascular endothelial growth factor, preventing blood vessel growth.

The report by the Italian Competition Authority …

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