13 December 2021

CeBIL member will give a talk on excessive pharmaceutical prices for TECHNIS Network

CeBIL member Behrang Kianzad will give a talk on "Excessive pharmaceutical prices and the renaissance of the “Fairness” concept in European Competition Law" for TECHNIS Network.  The webinar will be held on Tuesday the 14th of December 2021 at 11:00 London time i.e. 12:00 Brussels time, 13:00 Athens time. This webinar is free and open to all. The moderator is Dr. Andreas Panagopoulos. To join the webinar follow the Zoom link:

https://zoom.us/j/91535594322?pwd=SEhZTHRkZENQYW10WXM0dUk1c1RUUT09

Abstract for Behrang Kianzad’s Talk

The issue of high drug prices vis-á-vis affordable access to essential medicines has been one of the most talked and written about topic in the field of political, legal and academic thought for decades. The COVID-19 crisis has further elevated the urgency of the interface between IPRs, innovation, affordability, and competition law perspectives. Recent years has seen a tide of competition law enforcement against unfair and excessive prices of both patented and generic pharmaceutical products on both member state and Commission level in EU, despite a doctrinal adversity to enforcement of excessive pricing prohibition entailed in Article 102a TFEU. This makes for an uneasy relationship between the courts and competition agencies on one hand, and pharmaceutical companies on the other hand, since the concept of “Fairness” as well as “excessive” is all but mathematical and easily agreed upon. This might risk leading to competition rules being enforced arbitrarily, thereby harming innovation and investments in R&D, as well as marketing and patenting strategies.  

On the other hand, manifestly “unfair” and excessive price hikes of several thousand precents for long off-patent generics and an inverse relationship between increased mark-ups and rate of innovation as evidenced by empirical research might compels policymakers to question the ratio legis of IPRs when faced with ballooning healthcare costs as percent of GDP. Using the case of CD Pharma in Denmark, the article discusses various law and economics perspectives in the intersection of IPR and Competition Law, but the presentation also seeks to recount other related excessive pricing cases around EU and investigate what seems to be an emerging trend in competition law enforcement in this area.