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In the Matter of Novartis AG, a corporation. (GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK))
FTC Matter/File Number
141 0141
Enforcement Type
Part 2 Consents

Case Summary

Global pharmaceutical company Novartis AG agreed to divest Habitrol, its nicotine replacement therapy patch, to settle FTC charges that its consumer health care products joint venture with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) would likely be anticompetitive. Under the terms of the proposed joint venture agreement, GSK will control the joint venture and contribute, among other products, its nicotine patch business. Novartis will have a 36.5 percent interest in the joint venture, and without the divestitures required by the proposed order, would continue to own the Habitrol business. According to the complaint, without the divestiture contained in the proposed settlement, Novartis’s ownership of both Habitrol and a substantial interest in the joint venture that sells GSK’s nicotine patches would substantially reduce competition and lead to higher prices for Habitrol and Novartis’s private-label patches.  (C-4498)

Separately, Novartis AG also agreed to divest all assets related to its BRAF and MEK inhibitor drugs, products in development, to Boulder, Colorado-based Array BioPharma to settle FTC charges that Novartis’s $16 billion acquisition of GlaxoSmithKline’s portfolio of cancer-treatment drugs would likely be anticompetitive. According to the complaint, the Switzerland-based Novartis and the London-based GSK are two of a small number of companies with either a BRAF or MEK inhibitor currently on the market or in development, and two of only three companies marketing or developing a BRAF/MEK combination product to treat melanoma. If the acquisition goes forward as proposed, Novartis would likely delay or terminate development of both its BRAF and MEK inhibitors, as well as the combination product. Under the terms of the consent agreement, Novartis is required to provide transitional services to Array BioPharma to ensure that development of the BRAF and MEK inhibitors continues uninterrupted and that competition in BRAF and MEK inhibitor markets is not reduced. (C-4510)

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