Antitrust Officials Close Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation Probe  
7/7/2011 6:56:01 AM

European antitrust officials have closed a probe involving Boehringer after the German pharmaceutical group agreed to make changes in its intellectual property protections, settling allegations that it was blocking the launch of rival products. The European Commission’s investigation had centred on Boehringer’s blockbuster Spiriva, which is used to treat lung disease and has global sales of about €3bn a year. In 2003 the German group filed patent applications for new treatments of “chronic obstructive pulmonary disease”. This brought protests from Spanish drugmaker Almirall, which claimed the applications were unmeritorious but, if granted, could block or delay the entry of its own innovative “combination” medicines in the same area.