Tag Archives: Competition

DEFRA announces raft of new measures to support food supply and key workers in response to COVID-19

On 20 March 2020, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (“DEFRA”) has announced a raft of measures relating to food supply and key workers with the easing the impact of COVID-19 for UK retailers and workers. The Department of Education and Cabinet Office has published guidance on key workers for COVID-19.  The guidance … Continue Reading

European Commission Published Non-Confidential Version of Servier Decision

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 … Continue Reading

The Italian Competition Authority launches a sector inquiry in relation to vaccines for human use

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 … Continue Reading

Johnson & Johnson / Novartis: Another Pay-For-Delay Down for the European Commission

On 11 December 2013, the European Commission (“Commission”) sanctioned pharmaceutical firms Johnson & Johnson and Novartis with fines totaling EUR 16.3 million over a co-promotion agreement which allegedly delayed the sale of generic versions of pain killer Fentanyl in the Netherlands. Johnson & Johnson initially developed and commercialised Fentanyl in the 1960s.  In the Netherlands, … Continue Reading

Parents’ Liability for Antitrust Infringements of 50:50 JVs: European Court confirms the new stringent approach in EU law

On 26 September 2013, the highest EU Court issued two important judgments, Dow and EI DuPont.  These judgments confirm that a parent company can be held liable and fined by the European Commission (“Commission”) for the antitrust infringement of its 50:50 JV in the EU.  In so stating, the EU Court endorsed the current hardened … Continue Reading

Lundbeck: First European Commission Decision on “Pay for Delay”

On 19 June 2013, the European Commission imposed fines totaling EUR 146 million to Lundbeck and several producers of generic medicines, including Alpharma, Merck KGaA/Generics UK, Arrow, and Ranbaxy, for infringement of Article 101 TFEU.  This is the first Commission decision dealing with so-called “reverse payment” patent settlements or “pay for delay” agreements.… Continue Reading

French Competition Authority Issues Preliminary Assessment of Pharmaceutical Sector

The French Competition Authority (“FCA”) is currently investigating the intensity of competition in the supply of pharmaceuticals.  The investigation was launched in February 2013 and concerns all levels of the medicinal distribution chain (pharmaceutical suppliers, wholesalers and retailers). In July 2013, the FCA submitted to public consultation its initial assessment of the pharmaceutical sector.  The … Continue Reading

Combatting Bid-Rigging in Healthcare Markets: Increased Enforcement Activity

The fight against bid-rigging (i.e. collusion in public tenders) has become a major enforcement priority for national competition authorities.  Companies in the life sciences sector are increasingly targeted by bid-rigging investigations.[1] This development is promoted by the OECD, ICN and UNCTAD, which have done much work to sensitize competition and procurement officials about the harm caused by bid-rigging.  In February … Continue Reading

Private Antitrust Damages Claims in the Pharmaceuticals Sector: Gaining Momentum

The times when private antitrust damages claims were not a serious risk in the European Union are gone.  The European Commission and national competition authorities are actively promoting follow-on damages claims by private plaintiffs, and national health authorities are themselves bringing huge claims for damages arising from anticompetitive practices. The following are examples of recent … Continue Reading

French Competition Authority Launches Pharmaceutical Sector Inquiry

In February 2013, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) launched an inquiry into the pharmaceutical sector, examining each level of the medicinal distribution chain (pharmaceutical suppliers, wholesalers and retailers).  The FCA is likely to focus on a broad range of issues, including: Generic entry: The inquiry will likely examine pay-for-delay arrangements and other issues relating to … Continue Reading

Judgment of the Court of Justice in AstraZeneca v Commission

Originally published as Covington E-Alert on December 10, 2012 On 6 December 2012, the EU Court of Justice dismissed AstraZeneca’s appeal of the General Court’s judgment in AstraZeneca v Commission. The Court of Justice affirmed the reasoning and holdings of the General Court and rejected all of AstraZeneca’s arguments, including its challenge to the General … Continue Reading

Judgment of the Court of Justice in AstraZeneca v. Commission

Article originally published in Covington E-Alert, 10 December 2012 On 6 December 2012, the EU Court of Justice dismissed AstraZeneca’s appeal of the General Court’s judgment in AstraZeneca v Commission. The Court of Justice affirmed the reasoning and holdings of the General Court and rejected all of AstraZeneca’s arguments, including its challenge to the General … Continue Reading

The Application of EU Competition Law in the Pharmaceutical Sector

Article originally published in Journal of European Competition Law & Practice Advance Access on July 31, 2012 This survey article discusses the major EU competition law developments in the pharmaceutical sector from 1 July 2011 through 30 June 2012. The developments during this period were largely incremental, but presage what is likely to be a year … Continue Reading

Key Considerations for European M&A in the Life Sciences Sector

Article originally published in PLC Life Sciences Handbook 2012 M&A in the life sciences sector has remained robust, driven by factors such as: „„ The need to replenish shrinking product pipelines. „„ The need to maintain revenues as patents on top-selling products expire. „„ The strategic diversification of business lines. „„ Expansion into emerging markets. … Continue Reading

The AKZO Judgment of the Court of Justice Confirms the Scope of Legal Professional Privilege in EU Competition Investigations

Originally published as Covington E-Alert on September 15, 2010 On 14 September 2010, the Court of Justice, the highest court in the European Union (“EU”), ruled that, in the context of EU competition law investigations, legal professional privilege (“LPP”) does not cover communications between in-house lawyers and other employees at a company, even where the … Continue Reading

European Commission Revises Distribution Rules

Originally published as Covington E-Alert on April 27, 2010  On 20 April 2010, the European Commission published new rules governing so-called “vertical” agreements, such as distribution and supply agreements. The new rules are set out in the Vertical Restraints Block Exemption Regulation and the related Guidelines (see DG Competition’s website). They will become effective as … Continue Reading

Parallel Trade in Pharmaceutical Products in Europe: the European Court of Justice’s Ruling In Gsk v Commission

Originally published as Covington E-Alert on October 9, 2009 May a pharmaceutical company charge its wholesalers one price for products to be resold under the national healthcare reimbursement rules, and another, higher price for products to be resold in another EU member state? This was the question addressed by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) … Continue Reading

The Outcome of the EC Pharmaceutical Sector Inquiry

Article originally published in Concurrences, N° 3-2009 (September 2009) PROCEED WITH CAUTION ACROSS THE IP/COMPETITION INTERSECTION DG Competition’s release of its long-awaited Final Report on its Pharmaceutical Sector Inquiry on 8 July 2009 was somewhat of a damp squib compared to the fireworks surrounding the publication of its Interim Report some eight months earlier. The release … Continue Reading

DG Competition’s Preliminary Report on the Pharma Sector Inquiry: A Need for Clear Signals at the IP/Competition Intersection

Article originally published in Global Competition Policy, February 2009  The release of DG Competition’s Preliminary Report on its Pharmaceutical Sector Inquiry on November 28, 2008 was a Brussels media event, with press briefings, press releases, and an all-day public hearing that was covered by the Commission’s live television channel.1 Much of the discussion at the … Continue Reading

Limiting Parallel Trade

Article originally published in Competition Law Insight on November 25, 2008 May a dominant pharmaceutical company refuse to supply in full the orders it receives from a wholesaler in an EU member state in order to limit parallel trade in its products in the European Union? This was the question addressed by the European Court … Continue Reading

Parallel Trade in Pharmaceuticals and EC Competition Law

Article originally published in PLC Cross-border Life Sciences Handbook, 2007/08 Apart from patent disputes linked to generic entry, perhaps no issue has spawned more litigation in the European pharmaceutical sector than parallel trade. At the root of the problem are price differences among member states for pharmaceutical products which are caused by national price controls. … Continue Reading

Pharma and Biotech In-licensing and Collaboration Agreements: a Deal Lawyer’s Guide to EU Anti-trust pitfalls

Article originally published in the Cross-border Life Sciences Handbook 2006/07 Pharmaceutical and biotech companies are turning with increasing frequency to in-licensing and collaboration agreements – pharmaceutical companies to put new products in their pipelines and biotech companies to access the resources needed for final-stage development, clinical trials, manufacturing, and distribution. One result of the increasing importance … Continue Reading

Parallel Trade in Pharmaceutical Products in Europe: The European Court of Justice’s Ruling in Syfait v. GSK

Originally published as Covington Life Sciences Alert on June 1st, 2005 May a dominant pharmaceutical company refuse to supply in full the orders it receives from a wholesaler in an EU country in order to limit parallel trade in its products in the European Union? This was the question put to the European Court of … Continue Reading
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