A niche blog dedicated to the issues that arise when supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) extend patents beyond their normal life -- and to the respective positions of patent owners, investors, competitors and consumers. The blog also addresses wider issues that may be of interest or use to those involved in the extension of patent rights. You can email The SPC Blog here

Thursday 15 January 2009

European Commission Pharma Sector Inquiry - Preliminary Report

As most SPC Blog readers will be aware, a year ago, the European Commission kicked off 2008 by launching a sector inquiry into EU pharmaceutical markets under EC competition rules because information relating to innovative and generic medicines suggested that competition in the sector may be restricted or distorted. Some of the things that appear to have motivated the Commission in this endeavour was the apparent decline in innovation (measured by the declining number of new medicines reaching the market - as if producing medicines was an easy task...) as well as the delayed market entry of generic drugs. The preliminary report is out and and all 426 pages of it can be accessed here.

A whole section is devoted to SPCs (paragraphs 245-249), and includes a few words to the Commission's finding that AstraZeneca abused its dominant position by using a later date of marketing authorization (Appeal ongoing).

SPCs are also mentioned briefly under the section on Community Authorisations (paragraph 260), in conjuction with, interestingly, the only mention in the report of the so-called Bolar provision.

The final report is due out in Spring 2009.

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