Competition in the pharmaceutical industry

Bureau initiatives:

On September 23, 2014, as part of its ongoing work to examine issues around intellectual property rights and competition policy, the Competition Bureau released its white paper entitled "Patent Litigation Settlement Agreements: A Canadian Perspective" at the Global Antitrust Institute, George Mason University School of Law Conference: Global Antitrust Challenges for the Pharmaceutical Industry. The paper provides a range of information on the topic of patent litigation settlement agreements, including:

  • an overview of the regulatory system that governs the entry of generic drugs in Canada;
  • details about the role of competition legislation in Canada and the differences between the respective legislative and regulatory systems in Canada and the United States; and
  • the Bureau’s preliminary views as to how Canadian competition law could be applied to patent litigation settlement agreements in Canada.

On November 13, 2013, the Competition Bureau held a one-day workshop on antitrust issues in the pharmaceutical sector. The workshop focused on the potential competition law implications of certain strategies and practices employed by pharmaceutical firms that may have the effect of diminishing competition between branded and generic pharmaceuticals.

The event brought together representatives from the Bureau, Health Canada, the US Federal Trade Commission, the legal community and the pharmaceutical sector, as well as other stakeholders. The objective of the workshop was to hear stakeholders’ views on the enforcement and policy stance the Bureau should take on issues specific to the pharmaceutical sector.

Additional work by the Bureau in this area includes a submission to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Competition Committee Roundtable on Competition Issues in the Distribution of Pharmaceuticals in February 2013, two studies related to competition in the generic drug sector in October 2007 and November 2008, and a number of investigations and merger reviews in the pharmaceutical industry.

More information about competition in the pharmaceutical industry:

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