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Court dismisses ACCC’s appeal over Pfizer ruling


The high court had dismissed the ACCC’s application to appeal a decision on pharmaceutical giant Pfizer’s local unit that limits the competition for its cholesterol-lowering drug, Lipitor.

The consumer watchdog filed an appeal against the judgment handed down by a Federal Court in May. Pfizer allegedly abused its market power by offering big discounts and rebates on Lipitor to pharmacies.

“This decision ends this case, but does not end the ACCC’s determination to pursue companies which engage in anti-competitive conduct,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

According to the consumer watchdog, the drug stores allegedly bought large quantities of the medicine and agreed to limit re-supply of other rival generic atorvastatin products. The court found that the pharmaceutical giant took advantage of its substantial market power, but it didn’t accept the ACCC’s argument that Pfizer had acted to lessen or deter competition. Pfizer Australia said to Reuters in a statement that it welcomed the court’s decision to dismiss the consumer watchdog’s case.

Prior to the loss of its patent protection in May 2012, Lipitor generated annual sales of over A$700 million for Pfizer in Australia. ACCC said when it launched the case in 2014.

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