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SC rejects CCI order against GSK, Sanofi

A lawyer for CCI argued it had evidence that companies engaged in tender rigging

Veena Mani  |  New Delhi 

Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the Competition Appellate Tribunal's (Compat's) order quashing a penalty of Rs 64 crore imposed by the (CCI) on multinational drug makers GlaxoSmithKline and Pasteur for alleged bid rigging to supply vaccines for

The two were accused of colluding in bids for the Quadrivalent Meningococcal Meningitis Vaccine in tenders floated by the Union Health Ministry. and Pasteur had first appealed to Compat.

A lawyer on the case told Business Standard that the apex court cited that the facts and figures did not make for a judgement against the pharma majors. 

A lawyer for argued it had evidence that the had engaged in tender rigging, that the quantity of bids by and together was equivalent to the tender quantity.

did not satisfy the standard of proof required, the court observed.

Earlier, Compat had also quashed the CCI's order, deciding there was no evidence, direct or indirect, of any meeting between the two And, that their bids were not identical, the quantities they had quoted being different.

Compat had also said that even if had to impose a penalty, it should be on the relevant turnover and not total annual turnover for three years. The fair market regulator had imposed a penalty of Rs 60 crore on Glaxo and Rs 4 crore on on the basis of their turnovers.

had initiated its investigation on a complaint from Biomed, another pharma company. Biomed alleged the government was facilitating a cartel between and from 2008 to 2012. And, that the two were abusing their dominant position by convincing the government to incorporate exclusionary conditions such as minimum annual turnover of Rs 10 crore, then Rs 20 crore and Rs 30 crore in three orders placed by the Health Ministry, respectively.

rejected the complaint on abuse of dominant position but said the had engaged in bid rigging. It had questioned why each of the two quoted only half the tender quantity. The reply was that the time given to supply the full quantity of the vaccine was not sufficient and import was obviated by the rules in the tender.

First Published: Fri, August 11 2017. 02:05 IST