BRUSSELS, May 15 (Reuters) - EU antitrust regulators will investigate whether South Africa's Aspen Pharmacare pricing practices for five of its cancer medicines violate the bloc's rules against companies abusing their market power.
The European Commission said on Monday the probe will focus on niche medicines containing the active pharmaceutical ingredients chlorambucil, melphalan, mercaptopurine, tioguanine and busulfan for treating cancer such as hematologic tumours.
Aspen acquired the medicines after their patent protection had expired.
The EU competition enforcer said it was looking into information that Aspen has imposed hefty and unjustified price increases of up to several hundred percent, and has withdrawn the drugs in some EU countries or threatened to do so in others.
"In this case we will be assessing whether Aspen is breaking EU competition rules by charging excessive prices for a number of medicines," European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement. (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee)