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UK: Reckitt Benckiser fined for market abuse

Date: 20 Oct 2010

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Household products group Reckitt Benckiser admitted abusing a dominant position in the marketplace, and is likely to be hit with a 10m pound fine. The company had withdrawn its Gaviscon Original Liquid from National Health Service (NHS) prescription use when it came off patent - forcing doctors to prescribe an alternative Reckitt product which was still covered by patent.

According to the Office of Fair Trading, this made it harder for doctors to prescribe cheaper generic alternatives to patients.

The company originally denied wrongdoing, but has now admitted that it acted as charged. It claims that it believed at the time the actions were taken that it was acting within the law.

It is now likely that the NHS and the company's competitors will launch damages lawsuits. The original investigation was prompted by a complaint Pinewood, a generic drug manufacturer.

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