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