Roche and Novartis (Avastin v Lucentis) - Complaint to the CNMC24 abr. 2014
Following the decision in Italy on this matter, OCU has reported Roche and Novartis to the Spanish CNMC because the previously mentioned pharmaceutical giants may have conspired to create an artificial differentiation between their Avastin and Lucentis products (both valid for the treatment of wet macular degeneration), presenting Avastin as a more dangerous product than Lucentis, in order to influence the prescriptions of doctors and the health service. LUCENTIS is 100 times more expensive and is covered by Social Security, so the non-use of Avastin for the treatment of this disease may have been a significant waste of resources for the public health service. Precisely at a time like the present with cuts in health care and when there are significant shortcomings in areas such as dental or mental health.
The multinationals who have been denounced have conducted a complex cartel strategy to prevent the commercial success of Lucentis being impeded by the ophthalmic applications of Avastin. In Italy they found that such efforts intensified as a growing number of independent comparative studies supported the equivalence of the two drugs in ophthalmic applications.
The economic justification for the conduct of the companies, according to the Italian authorities, is derived from the relationship between the Roche and Novartis groups: while Roche collects royalties from sales of Lucentis, which was developed by its subsidiary Genentech, the profits of Novartis are directly derived from sales of Lucentis. Novartis owns of over 30% of the capital of Roche.
The alleged facts would constitute, according to OCU, a cartel which is prohibited by Article 1 of Law 15/2007 of July 3, Defence of Competition (probably having the aim of producing or being able to produce the effect of prevention, restriction or distortion of competition throughout the national territory by limiting or controlling production, distribution, technical development or investment or the carving up of the market between the firms which have been denounced); and possibly also by Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union ".