13 Mar 2014, BioSpectrum Bureau , BioSpectrum
Singapore: France is investigating Novartis and Roche for possible collusion to prevent the use of Roche's Avastin cancer drug as a treatment for an eye disease. According to Bloomberg, French health minister Marisol Touraine had asked finance minister Pierre Moscovici during the end of 2012 to urge the competition authority to investigate the matter.
Roche and Novartis are under scrutiny after Italy's antitrust regulator fined the two Basel, Switzerland-based companies $253 million (182.5 million euros) for alleged collusion. Novartis and Roche would have to pay $128.35 million (92 million euros) and $126.26 million (90.5 million euros) respectively.
Roche and Novartis blocked distribution of Avastin in favor of a more expensive drug, Lucentis. The two companies jointly market Lucentis, which is used to treat wet age-related macular degeneration.