Competition and Markets Authority Investigates Vifor over Possibly Misleading Claims regarding Rival's Product
The UK Competition and Markets Authority announced on 31 January 2024 that it would investigate Vifor Pharma over possibly misleading claims made to healthcare professionals regarding the safety and effectiveness of a rival’s product (see, attached press release). The CMA will inquire whether Vifor’s conduct amounted to an abuse of dominant position in the supply of intravenous iron deficiency treatments for patients of the National Health Service in the UK.
Vifor supplies Ferinject®, a medicine indicated for the treatment of iron deficiency when oral iron preparations are ineffective or cannot be used or when there is a clinical need to deliver iron rapidly (for example following major surgery). Vifor stands accused of having misled HCPs regarding the safety and effectiveness of Monofer®, a competing high-dose IV iron deficiency treatment supplied by Pharmacosmos. According to the CMA, Vifor’s conduct, if proven, may have harmed patients by the reduced competition in the supply of iron deficiency treatments to the NHS.
Back in June 2022, the European Commission launched a similar investigation against Vifor which is still pending (see, Van Bael & Bellis Life Sciences News and Insights of 20 June 2022). The enforcement actions by the CMA and the European Commission mark the latest developments in a line of cases in which European competition authorities pursue parties in an allegedly dominant position over misleading and/or deprecating statements made regarding competing products.