28 March 2003 11:09 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--Genzyme Ltd, the British arm of the US biotechnology group, told CNI on Friday it would appeal a £6.8m ($10.6m/Euro10.1m) fine from the UK's Office of Fair Trading (OFT), which ruled it had contravened competition law over the drug Cerezyme.
The OFT claims that Genzyme abused its dominant position in the market for Cerezyme, a treatment for the rare Gaucher disease, by excluding viable competition from providing home care through its pricing policies.
Genzyme therapeutics vice president and general manager for UK and Ireland, Malcolm Johnson, said: "We are disappointed that the OFT has reached this decision. We believe that the OFT is not acting in the best interests of patients and has, in fact fundamentally misunderstood the markets for drugs that treat ultra-orphan diseases and for the sophisticated home healthcare services associated with those drugs."
He continued: "It has ignored the scientific and medical evidence we presented, and our legal team believes the OFT has failed to follow a fair procedure."
Genzyme also claims that the proposed £6.8m fine is not realistic. It represents 10% of Genzyme’s UK Cerezyme turnover over the last four years and equates to around £230 000 per patient receiving regular nursing support in the UK.
On a wider scale, Johnson also raised concerns that OFT interference in the pricing of pharmaceuticals could damage research into new treatments for rare diseases.
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