* France's Servier, Israel's Teva among those fined
* Six companies get combined penalty of 428 million euros
* EU's Almunia - deals to buy out competition broke rules
BRUSSELS, July 9 (Reuters) - European Union antitrust regulators fined French drugmaker Servier, Israel's Teva and four others a total of 428 million euros ($583 million) on Wednesday for blocking cheaper generic medicine.
The sanctions are the third by the European Commission against so-called pay-for-delay deals in the pharmaceutical industry, where brand-name drugmakers pay cheaper non-brand generics firms to hold back from launching rival medicines.
"Servier had a strategy to systematically buy out any competitive threats to make sure that they stayed out of the market. Such behavior is clearly anti-competitive and abusive," European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.
The EU antitrust watchdog said Servier's deals with the generics rivals were aimed at protecting its best-selling blood pressure medicine perindopril from competition in the 28-country bloc.
Servier, France's second-largest drugmaker, was hit with the biggest fine at 331 million euros, while world No. 1 generic drugmaker Teva's penalty came to 15.57 million euros.
The other penalized companies were Unichem and its subsidiary Niche, as well as Matrix, which is now known as Mylan Laboratories, Slovenian peer Krka and Lupin.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by John O'Donnell and Mark Potter)