Excessive pricing in the pharmaceutical sector

Séminaire "Économie et droit de la concurrence" avec Paul Csiszar (DG COMP) organisé par la Revue Concurrences, en partenariat avec Skadden, White & Case et Compass Lexecon.


Ingrid VANDENBORRE launched the workshop by highlighting various issues which make excessive pricing in pharmaceuticals a highly interesting and often controversial topic. It is not at all evident, for example, how a cost-price comparison can be undertaken in pharmaceuticals. Which costs should be included in the assessment (investment costs, R&D, acquisition costs etc.) ? If we look at the evolution of costs and prices over time, to assess whether prices are persistently excessive, what time period should be considered ? Furthermore, pharmaceutical markets are highly regulated. This raises questions as to how to assess barriers to entry or expansion in an investigation and what type of barriers to look at, (e.g. should we look only at regulatory barriers to entry, or can low prices constitute a barrier), and as to whether governments have significant buyer power. It also isn’t clear at the outset how competition law should interact with regulation. Should competition law intervene in highly regulated industries such as pharmaceuticals and, if intervention is advisable, what kind of remedies would be appropriate ?

Photos © Emilie Gomez

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  • ESSEC Business School (Cergy)
  • Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
  • White & Case (Brussels)
  • Brick Court Chambers (London)
  • DG COMP (Brussels)