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Bristol Myers to pay $2.7 million to settle Israel anti-competition charges


By Steven Scheer

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Bristol Myers Squibb has agreed to pay 10 million shekels ($2.7 million) in Israel to settle a potential case over its blocking of a generic version for anti-cancer drug Imnovid, Israel’s Competition Authority said on Monday.

The anti-trust agency said that Bristol and Neopharm Scientific, the Israeli distributor of Imnovid – used for the treatment of multiple myeloma and AIDS-related Kaposi sarcoma – declined a request by KS Kim International for drug samples to make a copycat version of Imnovid.

After five months, the drugmakers provided the samples but the competition authority said it delayed competition for such an important drug.

Bristol, which has to make the payment within 60 days, and Neopharm were not immediately available to comment.

“We want to send a message to companies that have a dominant position in the market that they cannot act in a manner that is likely to reduce competition,” Jonathan Cwikel, deputy legal counsel for civil and administrative affairs, told Reuters.

The authority intended to fine Neopharm 64 million shekels and an unnamed company executive 600,000 shekels, but even before it was able to issue a similar letter to Bristol, the firm offered the authority to settle, he said.

In signing the consent decree – which was seen by Reuters – and paying 10 million shekels, Bristol, Cwikel said, rejected any responsibility and did not admit any liability. “On our part, we did not finalise our inquiry so we don’t have any formal decision against them,” he said.

So far, Neopharm has decided not to settle, Cwikel said, and will be presenting oral arguments at a hearing on Monday.

($1 = 3.7501 shekels)

(Reporting by Steven Scheer; editing by David Evans)



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