The Competition Commission of India has initiated an inquiry regarding unfair trade practices by F. Hoffmann-La Roche. In the month of July last year Mylan Pharmaceuticals and Biocon Limited had approached the CCI, alleging that Roche was involved in anti-competitive practices with regards to their breast cancer medicine: Trastuzumab.
The CCI, prima facie has found some substance in the allegation of misuse of dominant status by F. Hoffmann-La Roche. An inquiry has been ordered by the CCI the report of which is too be submitted within 60 days.
La Roche has been accused of influencing regulatory authorities, raising unwarranted concerns regarding the efficacy of biosimilars. The Pharma giant is also accused of stalling the approvals and marketing of biosimilars.
Trastuzumab is a biological drug for the treatment of Breast Cancer. Biocon manufactures a biosimilar to this drug. La Roche has apparently approached a few hospitals and raise unwarranted claims and questions about the efficacy of such biosimilars. It is also alleged that women are practically forced by hospitals into using La Roche’s Trastuzumab for their treatment. If they refuse of intend to use a cheaper alternative, they are either refused treatment, or cautioned that the hospital shall bear no responsibility for adverse consequences.
The CCI in its 36 page order referred to an ongoing Delhi High Litigation between La Roche and Biocon, where Roch has questioned the approval of Biocon’s products, has observed that there are questionable practices adopted by Roche to create a negative image about biosimilars. The CCI’s order also mentions that Roche has adopted legal methods to delay the launch of biosimilars, like the launch of TrastuRel , the biosimilar version by Reliance Life Science’s was delayed by almost a year because of the law suit instituted by Roche against them in the Delhi High Court.