Pfizer, Lilly and Bayer fined for price-fixing in Switzerland

The Swiss branches of Pfizer Inc., Eli Lilly & Co. and Bayer AG may have to open their wallets after they were fined a total of $5.7 million by competition regulators on Dec. 1 for alleged price-fixing of drugs for erectile dysfunction.

BERN, Switzerland—The Swiss branches of Pfizer Inc., EliLilly & Co. and Bayer AG may have to open their wallets after they werefined a total of $5.7 million by competition regulators on Dec. 1 for allegedprice-fixing of drugs for erectile dysfunction.
 
 
The Swiss Competition Commission contends that the pricesfor Viagra (sildenafil), Cialis (tadalafil) and Levitra (vardenafil) were fixedvia public price recommendations.

The commission didn't say how much each company was fined,and declined to provide the information.
 
 
The commission concluded in February, after a lengthyinvestigation that began in June 2006, that the firms made "inadmissiblevertical competition agreements" by maintaining a recommended public sellingprice for the drugs.
 
The three companies rejected the allegation.
 
 
"Bayer (Schweiz) AG categorically rejects the allegationthat it is involved in fixing prices of any kind. Bayer AG has not reached anyagreements or arrangements concerning retail prices with pharmacies ordispensing doctors," Bayer spokesman Helmut Schäfers said in a statement.
 
 
"Bayer AG is convinced that it has acted in compliance withcurrent Swiss legislation and is considering further legal action against thedecision by Weko," he concluded.
 
"We are surprised by the decision and we believe the publicprice recommendation for Cialis was in full compliance with Swiss competitionlaw," Petra Streit, an Eli Lilly spokeswoman, said in a statement.
 
"We're of the opinion that this decision will not survive acourt examination," Pfizer noted in a statement.
 
 
The Swiss Competition Commission is an independent federalauthority charged with the task of combating harmful cartels, monitoringdominant companies for signs of anti-competitive conduct, enforcing mergercontrol legislation and preventing the imposition of restraints of competitionby the state.


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