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Home News & Events COMPETITION LAW NEWS: 2nd EU Monitoring Exercise of Patent Settlements in Pharmaceutical Market

COMPETITION LAW NEWS: 2nd EU Monitoring Exercise of Patent Settlements in Pharmaceutical Market

Sunday, 06 February 2011 13:00

Launching its second monitoring exercise on 17 January, 2011 after the first one carried out in 2009, the EU Commission has asked a selected number of originator and generic pharmaceutical companies to submit a copy of all patent settlement agreements relevant for the EU/EEA markets concluded between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2010, together with all relative annexes, related agreements and amendments thereto.

The first monitoring exercise of 2009 had indicated significant risks for European consumers stemming from certain types of patent settlements which effectively led to a delay in the entry of cheaper generic medicinal in the relevant market.

Commissioner Joaquín Almunia responsible for Competition Policy is reported to have emphasised that "Patent settlements are an area of particular concern because they may delay the market entry of generic medicines. The outcome of our first monitoring exercise showed that potentially problematic agreements had decreased significantly since the Commission's sector inquiry. The 2011 monitoring exercise is important to assess whether this positive trend is confirmed and to identify potentially problematic patent settlements."

It is the Commission’s aim to increase awareness in the pharmaceutical market that patent settlement agreements which normally involve millions of Euro, may be scrutinised by it from the competition law point of view to safeguard the consumers’ right for availability of cheaper generic medicinals on the market without unduly delay.

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