In a September 2016 ruling, the General Court of the EU ruled against Danish pharmaceutical company, Lundbeck, in its appeal to overturn antitrust fines imposed by the European Commission. The General Court agreed with the Commission’s decision that the settlement agreements reached between Lundbeck and a number of rival pharmaceutical companies to delay sales of a generic anti-depressant drug ‘citalopram’, amounted to anti-competitive behaviour.
The General Court's Decision
Lundbeck loses appeal to overturn ‘pay for delay’ fines
The applicants challenged the Commission’s approach by arguing, inter alia, that it was an error of law to view the launch of medicinal products that infringe third parties’ intellectual property rights as the expression of potential competition. They argued that Art 101 TFEU protects only lawful competition, which cannot exist where an exclusive right, like a patent, precludes market entry, in law or in fact.