A PYMNTS Company

Report Highlights Successes in Enforcing Antitrust Rules in the Pharmaceutical Sector

 |  January 28, 2024

In a recent report, the European Commission has shed light on the significant strides made in enforcing antitrust and merger rules within the pharmaceutical sector from 2018 to 2022. The report emphasizes the crucial role of active enforcement in ensuring European patients’ access to a broader range of affordable and innovative medicines, particularly during the challenging times of the coronavirus pandemic.

The comprehensive report, a collaborative effort between the European Commission and the national competition authorities (NCAs) of the 27 EU Member States, underscores the ongoing commitment to maintaining fair competition within the pharmaceutical industry. The collaboration, conducted through the European Competition Network (ECN), builds upon a previous report covering the years 2009-2017, published in January 2019.

One of the key findings of the report is the positive impact of antitrust enforcement on ensuring fair prices for medicines. Since 2018, the Commission and national competition authorities have taken decisive actions against anti-competitive practices in the supply of medicines, resulting in 26 decisions. These decisions have led to the imposition of fines totaling over €780 million or legally binding commitments from companies to rectify their anti-competitive behavior.


Additionally, more than 70 cases were investigated, with 40 being closed and 30 still ongoing. The anti-competitive practices addressed in these cases have had detrimental effects on innovation and pricing within the pharmaceutical sector. These practices ranged from the misuse of the patent system and abusive litigation to extend patent exclusivity to disparagement of a competitor’s products, pay-for-delay agreements, and the imposition of excessive prices for off-patent medicines.

The identified anti-competitive practices not only posed challenges to fair market competition but also directly impacted patients’ access to affordable and innovative medicines. The range of practices addressed in the report highlights the complexity of the issues faced by regulatory authorities and the pharmaceutical industry.

The report concludes with a commitment from the European Commission and national competition authorities to continue their enforcement efforts in the pharmaceutical sector, emphasizing its economic relevance and its direct impact on the well-being and lives of the public. The commitment to addressing anti-competitive practices remains a high priority, ensuring a level playing field that fosters innovation, affordability, and accessibility in the pharmaceutical market.

Source: Mirage News