The European Union (EU) on Wednesday announced an anti-trust probe into French pharmaceutical maker Les Laboratoires Servier on suspicion it tried to hinder the entry of a generic drug onto the market.
The EU's top competition regulator said it had taken the action over "suspected breaches of (EU) rules on restrictive business practices and on abuse of a dominant market position."
The commission also said it would study whether several generic drug companies had concluded "a number of individual, possibly restrictive, agreements between each of them and Servier."
It said that "unilateral behaviour by Servier" and these agreements might have hindered the entry on to EU markets of generic perindopril, a cardio-vascular medicine originally developed by the French concern.
Generic products are far cheaper -- on average they cost 40 percent less two years after the enter the market -- than brand medicines and save patients and insurance firms money while remaining just as effective.