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In May 2017, the European Commission launched its first investigation into excessive pricing in the pharmaceutical sector, targeting several Aspen generic oncology products. It covers the entire EU with the exception of Italy, where Aspen was fined more than EUR5 million in 2016 for price hikes of between 250% and 1,500%; a court recently rejected an appeal against the Italian decision. The European Commission’s intervention follows a number of recent investigations in the UK, and the announcement of a sector inquiry in France in July 2017. Whilst the parameters are not yet defined, the inquiry may look into regulatory pricing mechanisms as well as alleged instances of excessive pricing.

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