Teva in EU antitrust crosshairs over its Copaxone drug

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is seen during a news conference hold by its CEO, Kare Schultz, to discuss the company's 2019 outlooks in Tel Aviv, Israel February 19, 2019. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Israeli drugmaker Teva TEVA.TA is the target of an EU antitrust investigation over the possible abuse of its dominant position related to its multiple sclerosis medicine Copaxone, the European Commission said on Friday.

The EU competition enforcer raided Teva in October last year and in January this year as part of its investigation, the EU executive said in a statement.

Teva can face fines up to 10% of its global turnover if found guilty of breaching EU antitrust rules.

The U.S. government in August sued Teva, accusing the drugmaker of causing the submission of false claims to Medicare by using kickbacks to boost sales of Copaxone, one of its lucrative drugs.

This is the company’s third run-in with EU antitrust regulators which have also charged the company with anti-competitive practices over its deal with rival Cephalon to delay selling a generic version of its sleep disorder drug modafinil.

Teva was fined by the EU in 2014 as part of a group of six drugmakers for blocking the entry of cheaper versions of cardiovascular medicine.

Repeat offenders face an additional deterrent fine under EU antitrust rules.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle