The European Commission has announced the opening of official antitrust proceedings against Danish drugmaker H Lundbeck over potential breaches of EU rules and allegations that the company had abused its strong market position.

The Commission says it will in particular be investigating agreements made by Lundbeck related to the delayed entry of generic versions of the antidepressant Celexa/Cipramil (citalopram) into European markets, even though Lundbeck’s patent on the drug expired in 2003.

As part of an official Commission inquiry into the pharmaceutical sector, EU investigators raided Lundbeck’s premises in Denmark, Italy and Hungary in 2005, followed by a more recent search in Milan in December 2009.

Lundbeck has accepted that the proceedings have begun and has issued a statement saying it will cooperate fully with the European Commission and that it is confident that the group has complied with all relevant national and EU competition legislation.