GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has been accused of market "abuse" by the consumer watchdog, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).
The OFT alleges that the pharmaceutical giant paid rivals to delay the release their own versions of GSK's Seroxat treatment.
Alpharma, Generics UK and Norton Healthcare all received money not to enter the market with their copies of Seroxat, it said.
The generic drug makers were attempting to supply the UK market with their versions of paroxetine, which GlaxoSmithKline brands as Seroxat, the OFT said. Seroxat is used to treat depression. GSK accused them of infringing its patent, so to resolve this dispute Glaxo effectively paid the three companies off, according to the OFT.
"The paroxetine supply agreements under investigation were terminated in 2004," GSK said. If proven, the allegations would be an infringement on the part of all the parties of competition law and on the part of GlaxoSmithKline an abuse of its dominant place in the market.
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