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Alchem facing EC cartel action

The European Commission has informed India’s Alchem International and its Hong Kong subsidiary of its preliminary view “that they have breached EU antitrust rules by participating in a long-lasting cartel concerning an important pharmaceutical product”. If the EC ultimately concludes that there is sufficient evidence of an infringement, it can impose a fine of up to 10% of the company's worldwide turnover.

The investigation concerns alleged price-fixing and the allocation of quotas to distributors and generic drug manufacturers of the N-butylbromide scopolamine/hyoscine (SNBB). This is used as an ingredient in the abdominal antispasmodic drug Buscopan and its generic versions.

In October 2023, the EC fined Alkaloids, Boehringer, Linnea and Transo-Pharm a total of €13.4 million for participating in the SNBB cartel. C2 Pharma, which revealed the cartel’s existence under the EU’s leniency programme, was not fined. All six admitted their involvement in the cartel and agreed to settle the case. Alchem was not involved in this investigation or settlement.

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