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Pharma company may have made misleading claims about rival’s anaemia treatment

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Pharma company may have made misleading claims about rival’s anaemia treatment

The Competition and Markets Authority has opened an antitrust investigation concerning reports that Vifor Pharma, which makes leading IV iron deficiency treatment Ferinject, may have been spreading misleading claims about a competitor’s product.

The watchdog announced today (January 31) that it is looking into whether Vifor “restricted competition by making misleading claims to healthcare professionals about the safety and effectiveness of Monofer, a rival high dose IV iron deficiency treatment supplied by Pharmacosmos”.

Vifor, which had its base in Switzerland until being bought by Melbourne-headquartered multinational CSL Limited in 2022, faces a similar investigation in the EU.

In June 2022, the European Commission announced it was looking into claims that the manufacturer has been circulating misleading disparaging reports about family-owned Danish company Pharmacosmos’ rival anaemia product “for many years,” primarily targeting healthcare professionals with its efforts. At the time, Vifor denied it had engaged in any anticompetitive behaviour.

The CMA said it would liaise with the European Commission as part of its own investigation and stressed that it “has not reached any conclusions at this stage as to whether or not competition law has been infringed”. It said that the initial evidence gathering stage of the investigation could last until November this year.

Ann Pope, senior antitrust director at the CMA, commented: “Patients and doctors depend on accurate and honest information from drug makers to make life changing decisions about treatment.

“Iron deficiency anaemia can seriously impact people’s quality of life, especially those that are vulnerable. It affects four million people in the UK, so access to a full range of treatments is essential for the NHS to continue helping those living with the condition.

“We will investigate Vifor’s conduct to see if it is making misleading claims about a competitor, which could harm patients by stifling competition in the supply of vital iron treatments to the NHS.”

Vifor Pharma has been approached for comment.

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