$580 million EU antitrust fine for drug makers

The European Union's antitrust body is imposing a fine of 428 million euros ($580 million) on France's pharmaceutical company Servier and five producers of generic medicines for distorting competition.

The 28-nation bloc's executive Commission on Wednesday said Servier struck a series of deals with the producers of to protect its bestselling blood pressure medicine, Perindopril, from .

EU competition chief Joaquin Almunia says Servier's practices of "systematically buying out any competitive threats" to protect its market was "clearly anti-competitive and abusive."

The Commission says Servier must pay a fine of 331 million euros ($450 million). The remaining fine of about 100 million euros is split between the five producers of generic medicines according to the extent of their involvement. They are Niche/Unichem, Matrix, Teva, Krka and Lupin.

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