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Bayer Gets $16.2 Million Fine For Price-Fixing

Drugmaker made illegal deals with more than half of Germany's 21,000 pharmacies, Germany's cartel office said.

BERLIN (AP) -- Bayer was fined $16.2 million Wednesday for fixing the price of aspirin and other over-the-counter medications in Germany.

Bayer Vital, a subsidiary of the Leverkusen-based company, made illegal deals with more than half of Germany's 21,000 pharmacies, Germany's cartel office said.

The company offered rebates for the sale of Bayer products at a certain price, regulators said.

Bayer Vital said in a statement that ''Bayer Vital does not agree with the legal position'' of the cartel office, but that it agreed to pay the fine in order to avoid a protracted legal fight.

Since 2004, German pharmacies have been allowed to set their own prices for nonprescription medication. While pharmacies are allowed to offer reduced prices for shorter terms, long-term agreements are against the law.

Shares of Bayer AG rose 3 percent to 56.40 euros ($88.88).

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