France fines J&J 25 million Euro for blocking generics Posted 19/01/2018

A fine of Euros 25 million was imposed on Janssen-Cilag and its parent company Johnson & Johnson (J&J) by the French Competition Authority on 20 December 2017. This occurred in response to a ruling that the company deliberately slowed market access to generic copies of its painkiller Durogesic (fentanyl) and sought to restrict the development of competing products. 

Durogesic is sold as a skin patch and is indicated for the management of sever chronic pain. As an opioid analgesic, misuse can lead to death by overdose.

J&J was found guilty of attempting to dissuade the French health authority from approving generic forms of fentanyl, despite the fact that such a drug product made by Ratiopharm had already been granted generic status by the European Commission. Here, J&J specifically questioned the bioequivalence of generics of Durogesic. The competition authority also accused the company of spreading an ‘alarmist message’ regarding fentanyl generics, to healthcare professionals. This misled healthcare professionals and led them to doubt the safety and efficacy of generic versions of Durogesic.

Due to these actions taken by J&J to prevent generic versions of Durogesic from accessing the market in France, the watchdog has imposed a heavy penalty. 

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