Exclusive-Edwards Lifesciences cooperating with EU antitrust regulators

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -Edwards Lifesciences is working with EU antitrust regulators after they raided one of its facilities in an EU country a week ago, the U.S. medical device maker said on Tuesday.

Edwards Lifesciences’ shares had dipped 2.5% in pre-market trade after Reuters published a story citing two people with direct knowledge of the EU raid. The stock recovered and is now up 0.8%.

The move underscores increasing regulatory scrutiny on both sides of the Atlantic of the pharmaceutical industry to ensure that companies continue to innovate and offer products and services at affordable prices without being squeezed out by bigger rivals.

The European Commission on Sept. 19 said it raided a cardiovascular medical device company in an EU country on concerns that it may have abused its market power in breach of the bloc’s antitrust rules. It did not name the company.

Edwards Lifesciences, which says it is a global leader in making medical products for structural heart disease and known for its transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) device in heart surgery, said it was committed to healthy, fair competition.

“Edwards Lifesciences is cooperating with the European Commission regarding its inspection in relation to EU competition law,” the company said in a statement to Reuters.

“We remain confident in our business practices and will not be commenting further at this time.”

The EU competition enforcer declined to comment.

Companies found guilty of violating EU antitrust rules face fines as much as 10% of their global turnover.

According to analysts, Edwards Lifesciences competes with Abbot Laboratories, Medtronic, Zimmer Biomet and Boston Scientific Corp, among others.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Kirsten Donovan, Louise Heavens and Lisa Shumaker)