The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
Lawsuit accuses Apple of antitrust violations over Apple Pay. Apple Inc was sued in a proposed class action by payment card issuers accusing the iPhone maker of abusing its market power in mobile devices to thwart competition for its Apple Pay mobile wallet. According to a complaint filed in San Francisco federal court, Apple “coerces” consumers who use its smartphones, smart watches and tablets into using its own wallet for contactless payments, unlike makers of Android-based devices that let consumers choose wallets such as Google Pay and Samsung Pay. The plaintiff, Iowa’s Affinity Credit Union, said Apple’s anticompetitive conduct forces the more than 4,000 banks and credit unions that use Apple Pay to pay at least $1 billion of excess fees annually for the privilege.
UK watchdog fines Pfizer, Flynn Pharma $84 mln for overcharging NHS. Pfizer and Flynn Pharma were fined a total of 70 million pounds ($84 million) on Thursday by Britain’s antitrust watchdog for overcharging the National Health Services for a life-saving epilepsy drug. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in 2016 had fined Pfizer and Flynn about 90 million pounds for inflating prices for Epanutin by as much as 2,600% to 67.50 pounds for a 100mg pack before the companies won a 2018 appeal against the penalty. The Competition Appeal Tribunal had referred the matter back to the CMA, which in August 2021 stuck to its view that the two firms broke the law.
EU says Illumina risks hefty fine for jumping gun on Grail deal. U.S. life sciences firm Illumina risks a hefty fine for jumping the gun and closing its takeover of Grail without waiting for official approval, EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said. Vestager issued her warning a week after Europe’s second-highest court endorsed her power to review mergers even if companies do not have activities in Europe or fall below the turnover threshold. Illumina angered the European Commission when it completed the acquisition of Grail, a U.S.-based biotechnology company, in August last year amid the ongoing EU investigation into the deal.
Edited by Gary J. Malone