The Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal confirms that a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time can be interpreted as a period of up to two years or longer in an antitrust procedure (Aesculaap)

Introduction The Aesculaap case concerns an infringement of Article 6 of the Dutch Competition Act ("Mw") on the grounds that AUV - the procurement collective and wholesaler of veterinary pharmaceuticals -, and Aesculaap - the only other wholesaler of veterinary pharmaceuticals - had adopted a joint system of exclusion by refusing to supply veterinarians who did not adhere to the internal rules of AUV. The NMa considered this system, operative until 2001, to lead to price distortion and market division amongst the veterinarians. In first instance, the District Court Rotterdam (Rechtbank Rotterdam) reduced the fine imposed for exceeding the reasonable time period by the Netherlands Competition Authority (the "NMa"). Both the NMa and Aesculaap appealed this judgment. One of the grounds

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