GCR Q2 2020
Competition enforcement in the healthcare and pharmaceutical markets has never seemed more important or timely. As governments respond to the global covid-19 pandemic, antitrust agencies have adjusted to a new normal, permitting otherwise anticompetitive coordination to address wider concerns about medical supplies and the health and safety of their citizens.
While some competition rules have been temporarily relaxed during the crisis, other previously underused enforcement tools have come to the fore, with agencies in Europe and Africa launching excessive pricing investigations in the markets for protective equipment and other medical supplies.
Until recently, few enforcers had attempted to tackle price gouging, wary of overstepping into price regulation. Our cover feature takes a look back at the handful of excessive pricing cases that have progressed in the pharmaceutical sector, examining how and why enforcement has differed in Europe and the US – and if that is likely to change.
Even before the pandemic, competition in South Africa’s healthcare sector had already failed according to a high-profile report by the country’s antitrust enforcer. As the government tackles the effects of the coronavirus, we look back at the enforcer’s healthcare market inquiry and ask if its recommendations came too late. We also reflect on the European Court of Justice’s important preliminary ruling in the Paroxetine case and consider the flexibility of market definitions in the pharmaceutical sector ahead of a keenly anticipated formal consultation by the European Commission. Fancy some light relief as well? We have a feature on cannabis – a topic that apparently still makes lawyers laugh. As cannabis transitions from an unlawful substance to a prescribed medical treatment and recreational drug now legal in several states, we examine how the US Department of Justice has looked to protect competition in a federally illegal market.
We hope you enjoy these articles, as well as a survey of the Korean competition bar, an interview with the KFTC head Joh Sung-wook and an edited transcript of a roundtable on killer acquisitions from GCR Live’s second annual pharmaceuticals conference.
In this magazine
- Overpriced but underenforced? Excessive drug prices in the US and Europe
- Healthcare on life support: South Africa’s competition authority tries to resuscitate a failing market
- Delay no more? Reflecting on the ECJ’s Paroxetine preliminary ruling
- A little smoke, but no fire: Increased US scrutiny of consolidation in the cannabis market
- A Q&A with KFTC chair Joh Sung-wook: Targeting Big Tech
- Korea’s competition bar: GCR ranks the best antitrust practices in Korea
Market definition in the pharma sector: Is the standard approach fit
- GCR Live Pharmaceuticals: Killer acquisitions
- Community news