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French Competition Authority Launches Round of Public Consultations on Distribution of Medicines and Laboratory Testing as Part of Wider Sector Inquiry

  • 18/10/2018
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The French Competition Authority, l’Autorité de la Concurrence (“FCA”), has today launched a new round of public consultations that cover the distribution of medicines and laboratory testing in France (see attached press releases). The consultations form part of a wider inquiry into the pharmaceutical sector, which started in November 2017 and tackles a range of issues, including distribution, laboratory testing and medicine pricing (see our article of 21 November 2017).

The FCA indicates that is has so far identified a number of factors that stifle economic development in the sectors under review. It cites (i) a lack of access to adequate capital; (ii) limited price competition in the value chain for medicines and other products; (iii) regulatory constraints on pharmacies that create a competitive disadvantage vis-à-vis supermarkets and other parties active in the health and beauty sector; (iv) public service obligations resting on medicine distributors; and (v) regulatory obligations imposed on laboratories.

While the FCA prepared a range of questionnaires that target specific players, it also created a general purpose request for information. All of these documents are available from the FCA’s website.

The FCA plans to issue a final opinion on distribution and laboratory testing matters in early 2019, while scheduling a second opinion covering medicine pricing in the Summer of 2019.

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