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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

EU antitrust body fines France's Servier and producers of generic drugs $580 million

BRUSSELS - 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 generic medicines to protect its bestselling blood pressure medicine, Perindopril, from price competition.

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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