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The European Commission has ordered Sanofi-Aventis to sell off its drug stocks in eastern Europe in order to complete the purchase of a Czech generic drug maker.
The French pharmaceutical company is paying 1.8 billion euro (£1.6 billion) for Zentiva in a bid to broaden its drug portfolio.
But EU antitrust regulators said there was a risk that the deal would have reduced choice or hiked prices for hospitals, patients and the governments in eastern European countries unless it sold off 15 drugs to eliminate competition problems.
Sanofi-Aventis has agreed to follow the EU advice to sell the digestion drug Maalox in Romania, the anti-diarrhoea drug Ercefuryl in the Czech Republic and its blood circulation medicine Trental in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Estonia.
The Czech company, which focuses on making cheaper versions of medicines, will also sell off some eastern European rights to sleeping pills and drugs treating digestion problems, liver disease, heart disease and prostate problems.
Copyright Press Association 2009