Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

You are here: Home / Case database / Gresea & Transparency International Germany vs Ratiopharm

Gresea & Transparency International Germany vs Ratiopharm

Case overview

Date filed 24 January 2008
Current status Rejected
Issue Ratiopharm's unethical marketing in Germany, Belgium et al
Summary of the case The case deals with Ratiopharm, a German pharmaceuticals company and major producer of generic drugs that has allegedly engaged in unethical marketing practices in Germany, Canada, Spain, Estonia, and Belgium. These practices, which include offering illicit rebates to pharmacists, contradict standard governmental health care policies. Three OECD complaints were filed, two in Germany and the most recent one in Belgium.


Developments/Outcome The first case by TI-G was rejected on the basis of a lack of transnational investment. In December 2006, the German NCP rejected the second complaint against Ratiopharm, arguing that the complaint would have to be dealt with by the NCPs of the countries where the alleged misbehaviour occurred, i.e. Belgium, Canada, Estonia, and Spain. TI-G and the NCP met informally in March 2007. Again, the NCP insisted it could not accept the Ratiopharm case and refused to forward it to the relevant NCPs. The NCP claimed its “hands were tied”. TI-G maintains that the alleged misbehaviour emanates from Ratiopharm’s German headquarters to other countries and that the German NCP should therefore take the lead in handling the complaint. In addition, the NCP’s refusal to forward the case to the other relevant NCPs inspires little faith in the German NCP’s offer to assist informally.

A third case was filed by GRESEA and TI-G in January 2008 at the Belgian NCP. On 29 February 2008, the NCP invited the complainants to an informal preliminary meeting. At the NCP’s request, the complainants provided supplemental information including testimonies from Belgian pharmacists and the state of national regulation in the sector. However, on 4 July 2008, the Belgian NCP rejected the complaint, claiming that the alleged violations are commonplace in the generic drugs sector and thus not specific to this company. The NCP further argued that the law does not define the meaning of 'normal rebates', but did state that that the sheer 'magnitude of the rebates do raise questions regarding the price-setting of refundable generic drugs and the reimbursement system as a whole.' The complainants believe that the case should be the starting point of a wider public debate on the issue.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords Supply chain, Anti-competitive practices, Investment nexus, Bribery / Corruption, Multiple NCPs

NCP Information

NCP name National Contact Point Belgium
NCP address Rue du Progrès 50 1210 Brussels, Belgium
NCP website www.ocde-principesdirecteurs.fgov.be
Other NCPs involved

Complainants

NGO

Company Information

Company responsible Ratiopharm
Company address Graf-Arco-Strasse 3 3
Ulrum
Netherlands
Company website http://www2.ratiopharm.com/de/de/pub/home.cfm
Company in violation Ratiopharm
Country of operations Belgium
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Some developments are only visible to logged in users.
Date Actor Action Description Document
4 July 2008 National Contact Point Belgium statement Belgian NCP rejected the complaint, claiming that the alleged violations are commonplace in the generic drugs sector and thus not specific to this company.  
5 February 2008 Research Group for an Alternative Economic Strategy press release Gresea issued a press release stating that it had filed a case against Ratiopharm download pdf (21Kb)  
28 January 2008 Research Group for an Alternative Economic Strategy file A case was filed at the Belgian NCP against German pharmaceutical company Ratiopharm for unethical marketing behaviour. download pdf (144Kb)  
28 January 2008 Research Group for an Alternative Economic Strategy file The cover letter to the complaint. download pdf (78Kb)  
28 January 2008 Research Group for an Alternative Economic Strategy file Annexes to the complaint. download pdf (340Kb)  

Personal tools

OECD Watch is hosted by