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Mexico watchdog finds big pharma faces no competition on some drugs

Staff Writer |
Major drugmakers including GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, and Sanofi use legal ways to stifle competition in Mexico from generics that are readily available elsewhere.

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6,260 households were selected to participate in this study, says the report.

"The study found competition problems in the markets for drugs with expired patents, identifying failures, both from the government and from the market itself, which prevent their complete efficient functioning."

The companies have done nothing illegal, Juan Manuel Espino, Cofece's director of economic studies, said at a presentation of the body's probe into the Mexican drugs market, which found regulatory failings contributed to a lack of competition.

The report, released by Cofece on Wednesday, found that pharmaceutical firms use legal strategies to extend drug exclusivity after patents expire.

According to a document seen by Reuters, Cofece also identified other pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca Plc, Merck & Co Inc, Novartis AG, Janssen-Cilag, Abbott Laboratories, Roche Holdings, and Eli Lilly and Co.

Resolving the situation could save Mexican consumers 2.5 billion pesos ($139 million) a year, Cofece said.

"The cost of medicines for Mexican families is onerous," Cofece President Alejandra Palacios said.