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South Korean Regulator Fines AstraZeneca and Local Firm for Collusion

On Thursday, October 13, the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) announced that it had fined pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and local generic pharmaceutical company Alvogen a combined 2.6-billion-won (US$1.82 million) for establishing an agreement to avoid competition.

Specifically, Alvogen suspended its plan to release a generic version of Zoladex, a treatment for prostate and breast cancer initially developed by AstraZeneca, in return for gaining exclusive rights to sell three types of products made by AstraZeneca.

“We have detected and regulated collusion, in which the parties agreed to ban the production and release of a generic under development,” the KFTC said in a statement.

According to the KFTC, AstraZeneca approached Alvogen after learning that the Korean company had been developing a generic version of Zoladex since 2014, and considered the development to be a “significant threat” to its business.

The KFTC stated that the two companies completed their deal in September 2016. While the agreement was intended to run until the end of 2020, it was suspended in January 2018.

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