First it was Italy, then it was France, and now the European Union is stepping up to take a serious look at how Swiss drugmakers Roche and Novartis have handled the marketing of their eye drug Lucentis.
The FDA more than a year ago warned cancer docs that it had discovered a counterfeit of Roche's Avastin being shipped from a supplier in New York. Now authorities have come down hard on the owners of the company, indicting them on 73 counts for selling more than $17 million worth of fake or unapproved drugs.
The French Competition Authority has stepped up its probe of potential Lucentis price-fixing. As The Times of London reports, the antitrust regulators said they raided local offices of Roche and Novartis, looking for evidence of collusion.
It is the big sellers, the blockbusters--no, megablockbusters--that drug execs aspire to develop. And a look at the top 10 best-selling drugs globally can't help but impress with its big numbers.
Itlaian prosecutors have zeroed in on four executives at Roche and Novartis in their probe of potential fraud in the companies' eye-drug sales, Reuters reports, citing sources. The four executives weren't identified.
Efforts to steer doctors away from off-label use of cancer drug Avastin in favor of the pricier Lucentis for treating sight issues have gotten Swiss drugmakers Roche and Novartis fined by the anticompetition authority in Italy, where prosecutors are also taking a look, and now French regulators say they are in the midst of a probe of their own.
After their antitrust-fighting colleagues levied $251 million in fines against Swiss drugmakers Roche and Novartis on allegations that they colluded to protect sales of their eye drug, Italian prosecutors are now investigating possible market manipulation and fraud, according to Reuters.
Doctors have been prescribing Roche's cancer drug Avastin off-label to treat some of the same vision problems as its eye drug, Lucentis. Now, Italy's antitrust authority has fined Roche and marketing partner Novartis, accusing them of colluding to push doctors toward the pricier option--claims the pair denies.
Should Avastin really join the small set of tools in the brain-cancer toolbox? With studies offering conflicting results, Roche and some outside researchers may share data to answer that question.
The Cranbury, NJ-based biotech says they will focus on knockoffs of Humira, Rituxan, Avastin, Herceptin and Erbitux.