Article by Karen Incera
Last December 26, 2006, Procompetencia (the antitrust Venezuelan Authority) dictated the SPPLC/0076-06 Resolution, in which the Venezuelan pharmaceutical company Wyeth Laboratory was sanctioned to pay approximately an equivalent amount of USD 185,000 fine by the commission of restrictive exclusionary practices forbidden in the Law with the intention of impeding the entrance or presence of a competitor product in the national market.
The fact that promoted the complaint was a cease and desist letter sent by Wyeth, when it realized the eventual launch of the Dollder's antidepressive product IDOXENÆ1 (Venlafaxine Clorhidrate) for the supposed commission of restrictive practices against the free competence, among others.
In the letter, Wyeth informs the plaintiff about the existence of: a) a patent over a product that is based on the Venlafaxine Clorhidrate active principle; b) the conferred rights by the Law to the patent owners; c) their knowledge about the eventual commercialization of the IDOXENÆ product; d) the damages that would be done to Wyeth by a occasional patent infringement;e) the possible actions that Wyeth could execute in the case of a patent infringement and; f) a request of 100 IDOXENÆ product samples.
Dollder assures that IDOXENÆ and EFEXOR XRÆ has different quaily- quantitative formulas, eventhough they are based on the same active principle (Venlafaxine) and being that Wyeth has a patent over a Venlafaxine based product, no patent infringement would be taking place.
Wyeth's defense was based on the argument that the cease and desist letter is a very common practice in the Intellectual Property field in order to avoid unnecessary legal issues; that the letter had informative objectives and in no case, it should be considered as a conduct aimed to restrict the entrance of the antidepressive IDOXENÆ into the Venezuelan market.
In this case, Procompetencia concluded that the relevant market was "antidepressives for deep depression and other anxiety disorders treatment in the national territory". After that, Procompentecia made a detailed examination of each practice denounced by Dollder.
Like it was before, the fact that promote the complaint was a cease and desist letter by Wyeth, which under the plaintiff judgment threatened it in a direct way, and tried to impede the entrance of the IDOXENÆ product into the market.
After a detailed analysis of the mentioned missive, Procompetencia considered that...