Peters & Peters

CAT to rule on whether NHS ‘pay for delay’ case against Lundbeck and other pharmaceuticals companies is time-barred

Peters & Peters has recently been instructed to act for the NHS in long-running litigation against the Danish pharmaceutical company Lundbeck and several others.

The claims arise from the European Commission’s 2013 decision that Lundbeck and the other defendants infringed European competition law by entering into ‘pay for delay’ agreements under which generic producers and suppliers of Lundbeck’s blockbuster antidepressant, citalopram, agreed not to enter the market with generic products, even after Lundbeck’s original patent had expired. This resulted in the NHS facing substantially higher prescription costs for Lundbeck’s branded product and caused significant losses to the NHS.

At a hearing before the Competition Appeals Tribunal (CAT) on Wednesday, the defendant pharmaceutical companies argued that as the proceedings had originally been filed in the High Court in 2019, and later transferred to the CAT, the usual six-year limitation period in High Court proceedings should apply and had expired.

The claimants argued that their claims should be allowed to proceed because a valid claim form was filed with the CAT within two years of the final judgment in the European proceedings, in accordance with the specialist tribunal’s rules. The tribunal reserved its judgment.

Peters & Peters has instructed George Peretz KC of Monckton Chambers and David Drake of Serle Court Chambers.

The team at Peters & Peters comprises Jonathan Tickner, Emma Ruane, Edward Irwin and Holly Buick.