News & Insights

  • 23/05/2019
  • News

Van Bael & Bellis launches the sixth edition of its “EU Anti-Dumping and Other Trade Defence Instruments"

The definitive book on EU trade defence law appears in a fully updated sixth edition. As comprehensive in its coverage as its predecessors, this new edition of the Van Bael & Bellis book on “EU Anti-Dumping and Other Trade Defence Instruments” provides incisive analysis and critical commentary on all relevant aspects of the EU trade defence instruments as actually applied by the EU Institutions against the backdrop of WTO law. The book covers every issue likely to arise in any trade defence matter and examines the numerous cases decided under the EU anti-dumping, countervailing, safeguard and trade barriers regulations, including all of the following and more: • determining the dumping and injury margins; • rules for the determination of permissible adjustments; • clarification of the terms ‘significant distortions’ and ‘distortions on raw materials’; • determining the subsidy margin; • determining the causal link between dumping or subsidy and injury; • determining if “Union interest” calls for intervention; • examining the differences between anti-dumping and anti-subsidy legislation; • procedural rules applicable to complaints, initiation of proceedings, investigations, protective measures, reviews and refunds; • conditions for accepting an undertaking; • measures that may be taken to prevent ‘circumvention’ of anti-dumping or countervailing measures; • rules governing the standing of various interested parties before the European Courts; • allocation and administration of quantitative quotas; and • surveillance measures. As a detailed and practical commentary on the relevant aspects of the EU trade defence instruments as actually applied by the EU institutions in the light of WTO law, the sixth edition of this book remains without peer as a guide to EU trade defence law. To order a copy of the book from Kluwer, click on this link.

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    • 13/11/2019
    • News

    Koen T'Syen named “Rising Star: Belgium” at inaugural Euromoney LMG Europe Rising Stars Awards

    Van Bael & Bellis counsel Koen T’Syen was recently named as Rising Star for Belgium at Euromoney LMG’s inaugural Europe Rising Stars Awards. The awards celebrate the best lawyers in Europe who are under the age of 40. They were announced in London on 7 November 2019. Koen T’Syen has broad experience in commercial and competition law matters. He is also particularly knowledgeable in life sciences regulatory affairs. Further information on the awards can be found here.

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    • 13/11/2019
    • News

    Andreas Reindl chairs panel on selective distribution at the Marques Luxury Brand Symposium in Milan

    On 7 November 2019, Van Bael & Bellis partner Andreas Reindl chaired and spoke on a panel on selective distribution at the Marques Luxury Brand Symposium in Milan. The panel discussed a range of EU competition law issues affecting distribution strategies for luxury and well-known brands, including the relationship between trademark law and competition law, online sales restrictions, restrictions on sales over third party platforms, restrictions on the use of trade names in search engines, and hot topics in the ongoing review of the Vertical Restraints Block Exemption. Other panel members included Manuel Kleinemenke, Porsche, Benjamin Neyt, LVMH, and Bernd Weichhaus, Lubberger Lehment. More information on the event can be found here.

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    • 05/11/2019
    • Articles

    Dutch Competition Authority Will Clarify Guidelines on Joint Purchasing of Medicines

    The Dutch competition authority announced yesterday that it would clarify its 2016 guidelines on the joint purchasing of medicines (“Leidraad gezamenlijke aankoop geneesmiddelen voor de medisch-specialistische zorg” - https://www.acm.nl/sites/default/files/old_publication/publicaties/15959_leidraad-gezamenlijke-inkoop-geneesmiddelen-voor-medisch-specialistische-zorg-2016-06-22.pdf – the “Guidelines”). It did so in response to an assessment of the Guidelines carried out by “Strategies in Regulated Markets”, a consultancy (the “Assessment” – see attached). The Guidelines were designed to encourage the joint purchasing of medicines by a range of hospitals, a group of insurers or a combination of hospitals and insurers. They are supposed to offer a safe haven for specific forms of cooperation on the buying side of medicines. According to the Assessment, the Guidelines have increased the dynamics of oligopolistic medicine markets but have also added a layer of complexity to cooperation. As a result, the net effect of the Guidelines on competition in such markets is limited. By contrast, the Guidelines have had a larger impact, including price reductions, on monopolistic medicines. Conversely, the Guidelines had no stimulating effect on the market for medicines in full competition, because these markets work well and joint purchasing of such medicines has existed for decades. On this basis, the Assessment advocates for a broader safe haven which will bolster competition in the markets where the mechanics of competition are still imperfect. For example, the Assessment recommends the possibility for buyers to exchange more information regarding medicines. Additionally, the Assessment identifies non-competition related obstacles to the efficient buying of medicines. These include the fact that there is still no consensus on the switching of patients between therapeutically equivalent medicines. Similarly, buyers do not have reliable information on the relevant costs of the medicines which they procure.

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    • 04/11/2019
    • News

    Jean-François Bellis speaks on exploitative abuses in the pharma and digital markets at the European University Institute in Fiesole, Italy

    On 25 October 2019, Van Bael & Bellis founding partner Jean-François Bellis participated in a panel on exploitative abuses in the pharma and digital markets at the European University Institute in Fiesole, Italy. The panel was part of the Fourth Annual Conference of the Florence Competition Programme entitled ‘Hipster Antitrust, the European Way?”. The panel in which Jean-François participated was chaired by Marco Botta, European University Institute. Other panel members were Pedro Caro de Sousa , OECD Secretariat, Maria Teresa Maggiolino, Bocconi University and Avantika Chowdhury, Oxera. For more information on the conference, please click here.

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    • 04/11/2019
    • Articles

    Medicine Shortages - The Netherlands To Create "Iron Stock" Of Medicines

    The latest European country to announce measures to tackle medicine shortages is The Netherlands. Minister of Medical Care Bruno Bruins announced this morning the creation of what he referred to as an “iron stock” (“ijzeren voorraad”) of medicines that would cover five months of supplies (see, attached press release). The stock would include all medicines available on the Dutch market and would be built up gradually from 2020 onwards. It is expected to reach completion in 2022. The system will require a range of agreements among suppliers, wholesalers, pharmacists and payers on both operational and funding issues. Some of these arrangements will give rise to competition law scrutiny. For example, the Minister anticipates the parties “better to predict the demand for medicines in order to match supply and demand optimally”. The new rules will be laid down in a policy measure that will be overseen by the Inspection for Medical Care and Youth (“Inspectie Gezondheidszorg en Jeugd”). The Minister estimates the cost of the iron stock to amount to approximatively EUR 25 million. The press release does not indicate whether this is a one-off or a recurring expense. Finally, Minister Bruins once more advocates for a European approach to some of the medicine shortage problems. Echoing a proposal made by the French government (see, Van Bael & Bellis Life Sciences Newsflash of 9 July 2019), he suggests that the production of specific “crucial medicines” and pharmaceutical ingredients should return to Europe.

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    • 30/10/2019
    • Newsletters

    VBB on Competition Law, Volume 2019, No. 10

    The October 2019 issue of our newsletter, VBB on Competition Law, which covers major developments in competition law at both the European Union and Member State levels.    Click below to view and download the issue

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    • 29/10/2019
    • Articles

    Spanish Competition Authority Extends Investigation against Producers of Radiopharmaceuticals

    The Spanish competition authority, “Comisión Nacional de Los Mercados y la Competencia” (“CNMC”), today decided to extend an investigation involving radiopharmaceuticals to two additional defendants, GLO Holdco S.C.A. and Novartis Groupe France S.A.(see, attached press release of 29 October 2019). These are the parent companies of respectively Curium Pharma Spain S.A. (“Curium”) and Advanced Accelerator Applications Ibérica S.L.U. (“AAA”), firms that had already been targeted by, first, dawn raids (see, attached press release of 9 November 2018) and, later competition proceedings (see, attached press release of 11 February 2019). A number of executives of these firms are also the subject of proceedings which are based on both European and Spanish competition law. Curium and AAA stand accused of colluding to share the market, fix prices and exchange business-sensitive information on the Spanish market for the production and sale of radiopharmaceuticals used in positron emission tomography (“PET”) nuclear imaging. This infringement allegedly took place between 2014 and at least November 2018. Additionally, AAA is suspected of having abused a dominant position on the market for PET radiopharmaceuticals by hindering third-party market entry between 2017 and, again, at least November 2018. This latest move is another manifestation of the very active enforcement policy of the CNMC in the pharmaceutical sector (see e.g., Van Bael & Bellis Life Sciences Newsflashes of 25 April 2019 and 27 May 2019). The approach of the CNMC thus forms part of a broader Europe-wide pattern involving intense competition scrutiny of the industry.

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    • 29/10/2019
    • Articles

    Nine Countries Launch International Horizon Scanning Initiative to Track New Pharmaceuticals

    According to a press release of the Dutch government (see attached), nine countries started today the International Horizon Scanning Initiative (“IHSI”), a form of international cooperation that seeks to identify innovative medicines before they reach the market and that will inform decision-making on treatment and budgets in the participating countries (see, Van Bael & Bellis Life Sciences Newsflashes of 18 July 2019 and 5 September 2019). IHSI is one of the governmental responses to the rising costs of new, often groundbreaking medicines in therapeutic areas such as immune disorders, neurological conditions and oncology. The participating countries are Belgium, Ireland, Luxemburg and The Netherlands, which also take part in the wider-ranging Beneluxa initiative, as well as Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland. A number of non-European countries, such as Canada and South-Korea, are also understood to be interested in joining IHSI but will probably wait and see if the initiative is capable of delivering results. A tender to create a database that will comprise scientific, pharmaceutical and financial information is now under preparation. The first horizon-scanning results are scheduled to emerge by the end of 2020.

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