Pharmaceutical manufacturer AstraZeneca has been found guilty of abusing a dominant position by the European Commission, which has fined the company 60 million euro.  The abuse, which was described as serious, related to its patented ulcer drug Losec and lasted for seven years.  By misusing the patent system, AstraZeneca managed to block and delay market access for competing generic drug manufacturers, thereby keeping prices artificially high.  This is a novel decision, as the Commission never before has used Article 82 of the EC Treaty to tackle patent abuse.  When setting the fine the fact that this is a pioneering decision was taken into account, which leads you to believe that any future similar cases will be judged more strictly.  AstraZeneca has announced that it will be appealing the fine.   

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