Competition Bureau completes investigation into alleged abuse of dominance by Janssen Inc.
February 20, 2019 – OTTAWA, ON – Competition Bureau
The Competition Bureau announced today that it is closing an investigation into allegations of abuse of dominance by Janssen Inc., a Canadian pharmaceutical company owned by Johnson & Johnson.
The Bureau’s investigation considered whether Janssen was engaging in conduct that shielded its biologic drug, Remicade, from competition from biosimilar drugs, like Inflectra and Renflexis. This included allegations of predatory pricing, as well as other conduct that could exclude or disadvantage biosimilar competitors.
After a careful review of the facts, the Bureau has concluded that there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate that Janssen’s conduct has substantially lessened or prevented competition in a relevant market. Therefore, at this time, the Bureau is unable to conclude that the Competition Act has been contravened.
While biosimilar drugs are relatively new in Canada, they are likely to play an important role in keeping health costs down in the future. Biosimilar drugs provide patients with safe and effective treatment options at prices often far lower than that of an original biologic.
Accordingly, although the Bureau has concluded this investigation, it will continue to closely monitor the Canadian biologic and biosimilar industry to respond to developments that have the potential to disrupt competition in this critical sector of the economy. The Bureau will not hesitate to take appropriate action to maintain and promote competition in the pharmaceutical industry.
For more details on the Bureau’s investigation and findings, please consult our comprehensive position statement.
“Biosimilars are vital to competition in the pharmaceutical industry. They offer Canadians the benefit of lower priced drugs where treatments can cost upwards of thousands of dollars each year. The Bureau takes all allegations of harm to competition seriously, and we are vigilantly monitoring the conduct of companies in the pharmaceutical industry.”
Interim Commissioner of Competition
Biologic drugs are derived from living organisms and tend to be more complex than traditional small molecule drugs. Biosimilar drugs are highly similar versions of original biologics.
Biologics are one of the fastest growing pharmaceutical product segments in Canada. Their high cost and continued growth in usage have contributed to a significant increase in pharmaceutical expenditures.
First introduced in 2001, Remicade is an approved treatment for a number of conditions in adults and some conditions in children, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
There are currently two approved biosimilars of Remicade in Canada: Inflectra (Pfizer Canada Inc.), which is approved for all of Remicade’s adult indications and Renflexis (Merck Canada Inc.), which is approved for all of Remicade’s indications for both adults and children.
In conducting its investigation, the Bureau gathered evidence and obtained information through interviews with key market participants, including pharmaceutical manufacturers, public and private insurers, hospitals, physicians, infusion clinic networks and trade associations.
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