Hyundai Pharmaceutical has filed an unfair trade practice complaint against Pfizer Pharmaceutical with the Fair Trade Commission, over unilateral termination over the co-promotion agreement for Duavive, a medication that treats estrogen-deficiency symptoms in post-menopausal women.
Pfizer and Hyundai entered a co-promoting contract for Duavive in Korea in February 2015. However, Pfizer decided to partner up with Handok Pharmaceutical after its agreement with Hyundai ended in November.
Hyundai claims that Pfizer abruptly terminated the contract even though the Korean company played a significant role in promoting the drug in the domestic market and did not breach any contract provisions that might cause the agreement to end.
“After signing the contract, we put a lot of our manpower and capital in marketing the product in Korea,” a Hyundai spokesman told Korea Biomedical Review. "Thanks to our efforts, the company was able to acquire an additional co-promoting license to general hospitals on top of its original agreement for neighborhood clinics from Pfizer."
The spokesperson went on to say that Pfizer had given assurance that it would extend the co-promotion agreement with Hyundai.
“At the end of last year, however, Pfizer suddenly gave notice to the company that it would not renew the contract with Hyundai for Duavive, and that it plans to promote the product by itself,” he said. “We were further embarrassed when Pfizer signed the same contract with Handok just a month after our contract had ended.”
Hyundai claims that the sudden termination of the contract is an unfair trade practice.
“In general, the contract can be terminated if one side fails to uphold the contract such as not reaching the sale target. In this case, however, Pfizer decided not to renew the contract even though we have increased the workforce and increased market share,” he said. “Pfizer claims that the contract was terminated as the duration expired, but looking at we have achieved, we only interpret this as the abuse of power -- called gapjil in Korea -- pulled by Pfizer.”
If the antitrust watchdog judges this case is an unfair trade practice, Hyundai plans to sue Pfizer, he added.
Despite Hyundai’s claim, Pfizer argued that there was no wrongdoing or illegal act in terminating the contract.
“The contract with Hyundai was until November of last year, and there was no violation of the terms and conditions of the contract,” a Pfizer spokeswoman said to Korea Biomedical Review. “Pfizer is committed to strict compliance with relevant laws and regulations in operating its business, and we regret that Hyundai Pharm, which has well-promoted Duavive through our partnership, filed a complaint with the FTC.”
The change in the partnership was strictly done in a business point of view as it comes at a time when the company is arranging its local business and are looking for partners that can have synergy with its new operations, she said. The official added that Pfizer plans to cooperate with the FTC actively and transparently if asked.
Duavive ranked first in sales for general hospitals among treatments for related diseases last year.
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