Pharmaceut AstraZeneca must pay compensation to insurer Menzis

The British-Swedish medicine maker AstraZeneca has to pay compensation to health insurer Menzis because the company has asked for too high a price for a medicine. Thats what the court in The Hague decided. The amount of compensation will be determined later.

AstraZeneca had a patent on the drug Seroquel, against psychoses caused by schizophrenia or severe depression. The pharmaceutical company used that patent to prevent competition. In 2013, AstraZeneca won a further interim action against a competitor and thus prevented its plea from being admitted to the Dutch market.

Unjustifiably protected

Menzis accused AstraZeneca of stretching the patent so that no unbranded variant of Seroquel would come on the market. In the absence of competition, AstraZeneca could charge a higher price, which was then reimbursed by Menzis.

โ€œ In 2014, the Dutch court found the patent invalid, resulting in the drug being unfairly protected in the Netherlandsโ€, the court states. โ€œAs a result, until the patent turned out to be invalid, no competitor with a similar drug has entered the market, even though they were able to do so and had made all preparations for it.โ€

Menzis-foreman Ruben Wenselaar calls the statement โ€œa matter of principle that affects all Dutchโ€. โ€œAfter all, we pay the care costs for each other and with each other, too high medicine prices make care more expensive for everyone. Therefore, if we pay too high a price for too long, it will have the effect of the premium.โ€

Pay Difference

AstraZeneca must pay Menzis the difference between the price charged and the price that would have been charged if there had been competition. The court has yet to determine the amount of that amount and therefore wants more information from Menzis.

AstraZeneca says it is surprised at the verdict and is deliberating on steps.