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ACM clears merger between pharmaceutical companies Aurobindo and Apotex

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has cleared the acquisition of pharmaceutical company Apotex by rival company Aurobindo. The clearance was granted after the companies had proposed to sell Apotex’s activities with regard to Diazepam enemas. This will solve the only competition problem that could arise as a result of the acquisition.

Drug market

Aurobindo Pharma B.V. will acquire Apotex Europe B.V. and Apotex Nederland B.V. Aurobindo mainly supplies prescription drugs to pharmacies. Apotex mostly supplies over-the-counter drugs to drugstores and supermarkets. ACM has looked into the consequences of this acquisition for the Dutch market. For each drug, ACM assessed what consequences the merger will have for competition. This is in line with the way the European Commission assesses mergers between pharmaceutical companies. ACM only saw a competition problem with regard to Diazepam in the route of administration, which is by enema. Diazepam is a tranquillizer, and Diazepam enemas are used specifically against epileptic seizures. Currently, these companies are the only suppliers of this drug in the Netherlands. By committing themselves to selling this drug, the companies have taken away the competition problem. Apotex has already drawn up a contract with the drug’s buyer. An independent third party will see to it that the transfer takes place as agreed in the contract and as stipulated in the decision.

Drug prices on ACM’s Agenda

Drug prices are one of the key priorities on ACM’s Agenda. Competition in the pharmaceutical industry helps promote innovation and drug affordability. ACM takes action against cartels and against businesses that abuse their market power. When assessing mergers and acquisitions in this sector, ACM looks at their consequences for competition.

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24-12-2018 ACM clears merger between pharmaceutical companies Aurobindo and Apotex (in Dutch)