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European Commission Commences Antitrust Investigation Against Vifor Pharma

The European Commission on Monday said that it has opened an antitrust investigation into Swiss pharmaceutical company Vifor Pharma AG to assess whether it restricted competition by illegally disparaging its closest - and potentially only - competitor in Europe on the market for intravenous iron treatment, Pharmacosmos.

The EU claims that Vifor Pharma's conduct appears to be aimed at hindering competition against its blockbuster high-dose intravenous iron treatment medicine, Ferinject.

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".

Vifor Pharma said in a statement that it is fully cooperating with the European Commission during this process, and that it is convinced it hasn't engaged in any anticompetitive behavior.

"The opening of a formal investigation by the European Commission does not mean that any wrongdoing on our part has been established," the company said.

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.

Approximately 1.8 million patients suffering from iron deficiency are currently being treated with high-dose intravenous iron products annually in the EEA.

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