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Did GSK 'pay-off competition'?

19 April 2013 Last updated at 10:06 BST

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has been accused of market "abuse" by the consumer watchdog, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

The OFT alleges that the pharmaceutical giant paid rivals to delay the release their own versions of GSK's Seroxat treatment.

Alpharma, Generics UK and Norton Healthcare all received money not to enter the market with their copies of Seroxat, it said.

GSK said it "acted within the law".

"GSK supports fair competition," it added. "In fact, these arrangements actually resulted in generic versions of paroxetine entering the market before GSK's patents had expired," the company said in a statement.

Speaking to Today business presenter Simon Jack, Dr Stephen Godwin, senior research fellow at the Planning Shop International, said that these were very serious charges.

"Companies rely on branded drugs and anything that is seen to delay the generic competition is good for a branded manufacturing company," he explained.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Friday 19 April 2013.

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