Commission report finds active competition enforcement continues to contribute to affordable and innovative medicines

The European Commission has published a report providing an overview of the enforcement of EU antitrust and merger rules by the Commission and the national competition authorities (‘NCAs’) in the pharmaceutical sectorbetween 2018 and 2022. Today’s report shows that active enforcement of antitrust and merger rules continues to play an important role in delivering European patients’ access to a wider choice of affordable and innovative medicines. In particular, it helped to achieve this goal during the challenging period of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Commission drafted the report covering medicines and certain medical products in cooperation with the NCAs of the 27 EU Member States, with which the Commission works in the European Competition Network (‘ECN’). It follows a previous report covering the years 2009-2017 that was published in January 2019.

The authorities will continue their enforcement efforts in the pharmaceutical sector as a matter of high priority in view of its economic relevance and its impact on peoples’ well-being and lives.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Today’s report highlights the continuous enforcement efforts by competition authorities across Europe in making sure pharmaceutical markets work properly. Their well-functioning is essential to provide more affordable medicines and more choice to patients and healthcare systems, especially in the context of healthcare crises. We will continue our work in this crucial sector as a matter of priority, making sure we keep up with the ever-changing ways companies seek to unduly protect themselves from competition.