The IPKat is grateful to Dr Stephen Smith (Consultant Patent Attorney, NuPharm Intellectual Property) for letting him know that the preliminary report of the EC Inquiry into the Pharma Sector has just been published on the Competition website (well, I knew that of course, says the IPKat). Moreover, the proceedings of today’s public meeting about the Commission’s preliminary findings (stated by Commissioner Neelie Kroes, right, as being solely confined to reporting the facts and not making judgements) can be watched here live as a webstream (even the Kat can't pretend he knew that ...).
Merpel says, let's remind readers why this is so important. According to the Commission,
"The inquiry is a response to indications that competition in Europe's pharmaceuticals markets may not be working well: fewer new medicines are being brought to market, and the entry of generic medicines sometimes seems to be delayed. The inquiry will therefore look at the reasons for this.
In particular, the inquiry will examine whether agreements between pharmaceutical companies, such as settlements in patent disputes, have blocked or lead to delays in market entry. It will also look into whether companies may have created artificial barriers to entry (through the misuse of patent rights, vexatious litigation or other means). The sector inquiry does not aim to establish infringements of EC competition law by individual companies (Articles 81 and 82 EC).
The inquiry's findings will, if necessary, allow the Commission or national competition authorities to focus any future action on the most serious competition concerns, and to identify remedies to resolve the specific competition problems in individual cases".