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Government in £30m drug payout


The Department of Health has announced it will pay a Dutch drugs corporation nearly £30 million in compensation because it refused to authorise the firm’s paroxetine mesylate antidepressant for marketing in 2001-02.

Two years ago, after a long legal case, the European Court of Justice ruled that the UK Government should pay Synthon for lost earnings and costs.

Simon Burns, a health minister, recently informed Parliament that the department will pay the firm 33.3 million euros (£29.3 million).

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “In 2008 the European Court of Justice issued a judgment in relation to the case of Synthon v Licensing Authority following a decision in 2001/2 by the then Licensing Authority (the Medicines Control Agency) to refuse to grant a marketing authorisation for Synthon’s paroxetine mesylate product.

“The court’s judgment was that the UK should pay compensation for Synthon’s consequential lost profits, and following mediation the Department of Health has agreed, with ministerial approval, to settle their claim of 33.25 million euros inclusive of legal costs.

“Since the case was originally brought, in 2003, there have been changes to legislation that now allows the product in question to be authorised for marketing in the UK.”

Copyright Press Association 2010

European Court of Justice

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