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Miranda Cole is a partner based in the firm’s Brussels office.  She practices competition and communications law and policy, and has more than 15 years of experience in the field.  Ms. Cole’s competition law expertise encompasses merger control, actions under Articles 101 and 102 TFEU, advisory work and actions before the European courts in Luxembourg.

She has particular expertise in advising companies active in the technology and communications sectors in complex and strategic regulatory and policy matters, with particular expertise regarding the impact of evolving regulatory frameworks on new technologies and services.  In the communications sector she has extensive experience advising in connection with all aspects of European and international regulation, policy and competition law, and counselling in connection with the impact of regulation on transactions.

Yesterday’s Opinion from Advocate General Saugmandsgaard Øe (AG) in Hoffmann-La Roche vs Autorità Garante della Concurrenza e del Mercato takes the position that licensed and unlicensed pharmaceutical products used for the same indication may fall within the same relevant product market. The Italian Council of State (ICS) referred a number of questions to the EU Court of Justice (CJEU) in March 2016 in the context of the appeal against the Italian Competition Authority’s (ICA) decision that Roche and Novartis reached an illegal market sharing agreement in the market for ophthalmic drugs for serious vascular eyesight conditions.

Background

Avastin (Genentech’s drug licensed to Roche) was approved for certain oncology indications. However, doctors started prescribing unlicensed Avastin to treat vascular eye conditions. Genentech’s Lucentis (licensed to Novartis), indicated for the treatment of certain vascular eye conditions, used a very similar active ingredient.


Continue Reading AG’s Opinion – Licensed and Unlicensed Medicines May Fall Within the Same Relevant Product Market

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (the “CMA”) imposed a £84.2 million (€99.7 million) fine on Pfizer yesterday. In addition, the CMA also fined distributor Flynn Pharma £5.2 million (€6.1 million).  The CMA found that Pfizer and Flynn Pharma abused their dominant positions by charging excessive and unfair prices for phenytoin sodium capsules, drugs used to treat epilepsy, in the UK.  In addition to the fines, the CMA ordered both entities to reduce their respective prices within timeframes of between 30 working days and 4 months.

In September 2012, Pfizer sold the UK distribution rights for the phenytoin sodium capsules (sold until then under the brand name Epanutin) to Flynn Pharma. Flynn Pharma subsequently de-branded the drug, effectively taking it outside the price regulatory regime.  Pfizer continued to manufacture the drugs.  The CMA found that, after September 2012, Pfizer supplied the capsules to Flynn Pharma at wholesale prices that were between 780% and 1,600% higher than its previous prices to wholesalers and pharmacies.  It also found that Flynn Pharma’s prices to wholesalers and pharmacies were between 2,300% and 2,600% higher than the prices previously paid to Pfizer.  Flynn Pharma’s prices also significantly exceeded the prices charged by Pfizer (after September 2012) for the same products in other European countries.
Continue Reading UK CMA Imposes Record Fine on Pfizer

In its 18 October judgment the French Cour de Cassation upheld the €40.6m fine imposed on Sanofi-Aventis (“Sanofi”) by the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) in May 2013 and affirmed the judgment of the Paris Court of Appeal. The FCA found that Sanofi abused its dominant position in violation of Art. 102 of the Treaty on

The Italian Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (“AGCM”) has fined Aspen over €5 million for having abused its dominant position – in violation of Art. 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union – by increasing prices of its anti-cancer drugs Alkeran (melphalan), Leukeran (chlorambucil), Purinethol (mercaptopurine) and Tioguanine (thioguanine)

In its 7 July 2016 Genentech judgment (Case C-567/14), the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) ruled that Genentech had to pay royalties to Sanofi-Aventis Deutschland under its licence agreement. The Paris Court of Appeal requested a preliminary ruling on whether the provisions of Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”) preclude the imposition of an obligation to pay a royalty for the use of a patented technology for the entire duration of a licence agreement, in the event that the patents protecting the technology are revoked.  The ECJ concluded that Article 101(1) TFEU does not preclude the imposition of a requirement to pay royalties, provided that the licensee is free to terminate the agreement by giving reasonable notice.
Continue Reading Court of Justice Rules That Genentech Must Pay Royalties to Sanofi

The CMA issued an infringement decision today fining GlaxoSmithKline (“GSK”) and two other pharmaceutical companies a total of £45 million for delaying market entry of generic versions of GSK’s blockbuster anti-depressant Seroxat (paroxetine) in the UK.

Continue Reading CMA Fines GlaxoSmithKline and Several Generic Companies £45 million for Delaying Market Entry of Generic Paroxetine in the UK

Since its in-depth inquiry into the pharmaceutical industry in 2008-2009, the European Commission (the “Commission”) has monitored patent settlement agreements. In its 2014 report published on 2 December 2015, the Commission revealed the results of its analysis of 76 patent settlement agreements between originators and generics  (a number “far below” the figures of previous years), concluding that “the number of settlements that might attract competition law scrutiny remains at a low level”.  In fact, 88% of the settlements analysed fell into categories that the Commission considered prima facie do not require competition law scrutiny (para. 51).
Continue Reading European Commission Publishes its 6th Report on the Monitoring of Patent Settlements

On Thursday the General Court (the “GC”) held the first two hearings  in the Lundbeck case.

Generics UK, now part of the Mylan group, and its former parent Merck KGaA (“Merck”) challenged the European Commission’s (the “Commission”) analysis, arguing that the Commission had wrongfully concluded that Generics UK’s settlement agreement with Danish originator Lundbeck restricted competition ‘by object’, such that it infringed article 101(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”).

Unlike its subsequent analysis in Servier where the Commission analysed by the ‘object’ and ‘effect’  of the agreements, in Lundbeck the Commission did not analyse the effects of the parties’ conduct.


Continue Reading Merck and Generics UK challenge the Commission’s ‘by object’ analysis in Lundbeck

On 14 July 2015, the European Commission (the “Commission”) published the preliminary non-confidential version of its decision in the Servier case, one year after the decision was issued.  This is the second key Commission decision, after Lundbeck, on reverse payment patent settlement agreements.

In Servier, the Commission went further than in Lundbeck and in its Fentanyl decision concerning a co-operation agreement between Sandoz and Janssen Cilag.  It not only looked at whether the settlement agreements between Servier and certain generic companies restricted competition by object, it also analysed their effects.  As a result of its analysis, the Commission found that Servier’s conduct amounted to an abuse of dominance under Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (the “TFEU”).

In July 2014, the Commission fined Servier and generic companies Niche/Unichem, Matrix (now Mylan), Teva, Krka and Lupin a total of €428 million for having concluded agreements that delayed market entry of generic versions of Servier’s blockbuster blood pressure medicine, perindopril, and protected it from price competition from generics in the EU.  All these agreements entailed Servier making significant payments (or providing other types of inducements) to the generic companies.  In addition to entering into these settlement agreements, Servier adopted various other practices that the Commission found were part of Servier’s overall strategy to delay or prevent entry of generic versions of perindopril. 
Continue Reading European Commission Published Non-Confidential Version of Servier Decision

On 27 May 2015, the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) issued a decision launching a sector inquiry into the supply of vaccines for human use.

The ICA has stated that it has launched the sector inquiry because of:

  • the importance of vaccines in terms of health care costs borne by the Italian National Health Service (over