October 19, 2018 / 2:12 AM / a month ago

Australian watchdog's appeal against Pfizer ruling dismissed by court

FILE PHOTO: A man walks past Pfizer's world headquarters in New York April 28, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

(Reuters) - Australia’s competition watchdog said on Friday the High Court dismissed its special leave application to appeal a court’s decision on whether Pfizer Inc’s local unit used its market power to limit competition for its cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) sought leave to appeal against a judgment by a Federal Court in May, when Pfizer was alleged to have abused its market power by offering big discounts and rebates on Lipitor to pharmacies.

The drug stores were said to have bought large quantities of the drug and agreed to limit re-supply of competing generic atorvastatin products.

The court had found that Pfizer took advantage of its substantial market power, but did not accept the ACCC’s argument that Pfizer had acted to lessen or deter competition.

Pfizer Australia said, in an emailed statement to Reuters, it welcomed the High Court’s decision to dismiss ACCC’s case.

Prior to the loss of its patent protection in May 2012, the drug Lipitor generated annual sales of more than A$700 million ($497.49 million) for Pfizer in Australia, the commission said when it launched the case in 2014.

($1 = 1.4071 Australian dollars)

Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Pullin

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