Pharmaceutical companies in spotlight of competition authority
Dutch Minister of Medical Care initiates dialogue with the ACM concerning potential abuse of dominance by pharmaceutical companies.
In a letter of 16 November 2017, the Minister addresses the complexity of the development of medicines and the problem that expensive medicines pose to the national health care budget. The Minister’s policy is aimed at ensuring the availability and accessibility of medicines, which implies acceptable prices for those medicines. Among the potential measures to achieve acceptable prices the Minister mentions alternative ways of developing medicines and forced licensing, but also joint purchasing with other countries. The Minister also announced that he will discuss with the ACM at short notice to what extent pharmaceutical companies may be penalised for an abuse of a dominant position in case such pharmaceutical companies ask high prices for new medicines.
On 28 June 2018, the ACM announced that it started a probe into rheumatism medicines (TNF inhibitors). The ACM found that despite available alternatives, the price of these medicines remains high.
If you have any further questions on this issue or would like to receive more information, please contact your trusted adviser at the Loyens & Loeff Competition Team.