CSL Vifor Offers Marketing Campaign to Reverse Alleged Anti-Competitive Practices

Pictured: Vifor Pharma's office in Switzerland/iSt

Pictured: Vifor Pharma’s office in Switzerland/iSt

Denis Linine/Getty Images

Following an investigation regarding antitrust practices against Pharmacosmos’ Monofer, CSL Vifor has proposed a sweeping multi-channel communication campaign designed to reverse allegedly misleading messages about its rival.

Pictured: Vifor Pharma’s office in Switzerland/iStock, Denis Linine

CSL Vifor, formerly known as Vifor Pharma, has proposed a comprehensive multi-channel, communication campaign to address allegations of anti-competitive behavior against a rival intravenous drug product.

The proposal, filed with the European Commission last week, comes after the EC launched a formal investigation into Vifor Pharma in June 2022 over a “misleading communication campaign” against Pharmacosmos’ iron deficiency drug Monofer (ferric derisomaltose), which is the main competition for CSL Vifor’s intravenous treatment Ferinject (ferric carboxymaltose).

At the time, the EC said it had evidence that Vifor may have been spreading misinformation for “many years” about the safety of Monofer. Vifor Pharma’s campaign mostly targeted healthcare professionals, which could have lowered the use of Monofer in the European Economic Area.

According to the EC, its “preliminary view” is that Vifor’s actions could indeed restrict competition in the market and “amount to an abuse of dominant position.”

CSL Vifor’s proposal includes a comprehensive and multi-channel information campaign designed to reverse the effects of its potentially misleading messages regarding the safety profile of Monofer. The company has pledged to send its clarificatory messages through email, mail and in-person meetings, as well as publish these messages on its website and in leading medical journals.

Pharmacosmos and other third-party players will also be allowed to use Vifor’s communications for use with healthcare professionals.

Vifor has also promised that for a period of 10 years, and spanning the whole European Economic Area, it will not conduct promotional and communications efforts about Monofer’s safety profile using information not obtained from the drug’s own product documentation or from controlled head-to-head clinical trials.

The pharma nevertheless insists that these commitments “do not constitute an acknowledgement that CSL Vifor agrees with the concerns expressed by the Commission … nor an acknowledgement that CSL Vifor or any of its affiliates have infringed EU competition law.”

The EC is now seeking comment from all interested parties regarding Vifor’s proposal and has the option to make them legally binding on Vifor.

If the pharma breaches its own commitments, the EC can fine it for up to 10% of its worldwide turnover without needing to establish infringement of antitrust rules.

Tristan Manalac is an independent science writer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. Reach out to him on LinkedIn or email him at tristan@tristanmanalac.com or tristan.manalac@biospace.com.

Tristan is an independent science writer based in Metro Manila, with more than eight years of experience writing about medicine, biotech and science. He can be reached at tristan.manalac@biospace.com, tristan@tristanmanalac.com or on LinkedIn.