Limiting the IPRs of Pharmaceutical Companies Through EU Competition Law: The First Crack in the Wall
Scripted - Journal of Law, Technology & Society, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 93-98, April 2011
7 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2011
Date Written: April 1, 2011
The exclusivity granted to pharmaceutical companies through intellectual property rights (IPRs) may in certain circumstances run counter to the main objectives for which these rights are intended. EU competition law has stepped in to correct systemic failures that have adversely affected the competitiveness of the sector and the public interest of individuals in access to improved and affordable medicines. In the case of AstraZeneca v Commission, the General Court of the European Union found, for the first time, that a pharmaceutical company had abused its dominant position by (mis)using regulatory patent procedures to eliminate or restrict the market entry of competitors of generic medicines. To understand the way by which EU competition law intersects with IPRs and safeguards (patent regulations) requires an appreciation of the tensions (Part I) that underlie the expansive application of competition rules in the pharmaceutical sector (Parts II, III) as well as of the new policies that have emerged (Part IV).
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