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Commission report on patent settlement agreements

Houthoff –

On 9 March 2018, the European Commission published its 8th monitoring report on pharmaceutical patent settlements. The monitoring process was launched in 2009 as a result of the pharmaceutical sector inquiry. The sector inquiry report indicated that settlement agreements that limit entry of generic medicines onto the market and include a value transfer from an originator company to one or more generic companies are an example of potentially anti-competitive agreements. Such agreements may have negative effects on consumers by depriving them of a broader choice of medicines at lower prices. The main goal of the monitoring process is to gain a better understanding of the use of this type of agreement and to identify those settlements that possibly infringe European competition law. The new report confirms that patent settlements still continue to be used in the European pharmaceutical sector. Most of the settlements, however, raise no need for competition law scrutiny. According to the report, companies are usually able to settle their disputes in a manner that is considered unproblematic from a competition law perspective.

Compliments of Houthoff – a member of the EACC in New York