Drug firm GSK fined US$2.6 million for collusion with South Korean rival


SEOUL–South Korea’s antitrust agency has fined drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline three billion won (US$2.6 million) for conspiring with a Seoul rival over the sale of drugs, an official said Monday.

South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said GSK in 2000 offered Dong-A Pharmaceutical the exclusive right to sell its anti-nausea drug Zofran and an antiviral medication called Valtrex. In return, the FTC said the British-based multinational demanded that Dong-A stop selling a cheaper generic version of Zofran that the Seoul firm had introduced in 1998. GSK also asked that Dong-A never produce or sell any drugs that could compete against Zofran and Valtrex, Kim Jun-Ha, a FTC official involved in the case, told AFP.

The FTC said in a statement it estimated GSK had made wrongful gains of about 16 billion won. It said “the two firms shared benefits that were to go to consumers.” Dong-A was fined 2.1 billion won for the collusion, the agency added.

GSK’s South Korean unit called the decision “very regrettable” and “inappropriate” and said it would appeal in court.