The European Commission has sent a statement of objections to Danish pharmaceutical company Lundbeck for preventing the sale of generic versions of citalopram, a blockbuster antidepressant.
The commission has also sent formal anti-trust complaints to generic drug makers Merck KGaA, Generics UK, Arrow, Resolution Chemicals, Xellia Pharmaceuticals, Alpharma, AL Industrier and Ranbaxy for accepting deals from Lundbeck to delay their drugs into the market.
In a statement made on Wednesday, the authority said, "This behaviour, if established, would infringe Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union that prohibits restrictive business practices."
Regulators suggest that the generic drugs may have been delayed by up to two years and the prices for citalopram remained high as a result.
"At this point, the commission considers that the practices may have caused substantial consumer harm," the statement continued.
The commission opened up formal anti-trust proceedings against Lundbeck in 2010 and indicated a number of problems in the company's practices that potentially led to "distortions of competition".
Lundbeck said in a statement that it disagrees with the letter of objections adding, "Lundbeck's policy is to comply with all applicable laws, including competition laws, and this policy is taken very seriously by the company and its employees."
Image: Tablet production at Lundbeck. Credit: Lundbeck.