Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority accused Merck‘s (NYSE:MRK) European unit, Merck Sharp & Dohme, of conducting an unfair discount scheme that it said was designed to restrict competition from biosimilar copies of the company’s drug, Remicade.
Remicade is an antibody drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis and Chron’s disease. It was the 1st antibody drug to face competition from copycat versions in the European markets. Biosimilar drugmakers, including South Korea’s Celltrion, have launched discounted products that are “similar” enough to Remicade to do the same job.
The competition watchdog reportedly said that MSD offered a discount to customers who continued to purchase Remicade in the same quantities, but not if they started buying biosimilars, according to Reuters.