On 12th July 2018 Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)  announced it was extending its timetable in relation to a number of its ongoing investigations involving anti-competitive practices in the pharmaceutical sector.

The delay is likely to be due to the recent adverse ruling before the Competition Appeal Tribunal in the Pfizer/Flynn cases. The CAT ruled that the CMA had adopted the wrong legal test for ascertaining whether the abuse of excessive and/or unfair pricing under Article 102 TFEU or Chapter II of Competition Act 1998 was present. Consequently the CAT overturned the CMA’s findings on abuse and set aside the fines imposed. It then remitted the case back to the CMA for further consideration. Although the CMA has sought permission to appeal this judgment the effect of this judgment has had a knock on effect on the CMA’s timetabling of other cases.

The three investigations concerned were opened in October 2017 and related to the following:

 Pharmaceutical drugs: This investigation relates to suspected anti-competitive agreements, concerted practices and suspected abuse of dominance in relation to the supply of certain generic pharmaceutical products. The CMA had been conducting further investigation and analysis until July 2018. The CMA will now conduct further information gathering and estimates reaching a decision on whether to issue a statement of objections in the first quarter 2019;

Pharmaceutical sector: This investigation concerned suspected anti-competitive agreements and concerted practices and suspected abuse of dominance in relation to generic pharmaceutical products. The CMA’s date for completing the initial investigation and information gathering was June 2018. On 3 July the CMA decided to proceed with the investigation, and that more time is needed to gather and analyse additional information. The CMA’s date for completing the initial investigation is now September 2018.

Pharmaceuticals: Similar to the other two investigations this inquiry also concerned suspected anti-competitive agreements and concerted practices in relation to generic pharmaceutical products. The CMA had been conducting further investigation and analysis until July 2018. The CMA will now conduct further information gathering and estimates reaching a decision on whether to issue a statement of objections in the first quarter of 2019