The Limits of Control: Competition Law Versus Sector Regulation in the Wake of the European Commission Excessive Pricing Decision in Aspen

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Despite being heavily regulated, the pharmaceutical sector in Europe has in recent years noted many enforcement decisions against excessive pharmaceutical pricing as an anti-competitive practice under Article 102(a) TFEU. Although described as a ‘rarity’ in competition law in most parts of the doctrine, numerous excessive pricing cases have emerged in Italy, UK, Denmark, and the Netherlands in recent years, but also on the European Commission level. The European competition authority adopted its first excessive pricing commitment decision against a pharmaceutical undertaking (Aspen) in April 2021. Take into account the manifold points of contention in the literature on excessive pricing, concerning the normative issue of preventing supra-competitive pricing on part of dominant undertakings. Add the tension between competition law and sector regulation;, as well as the practical issue of calculating cost, prices and profits for the purpose of finding out the ‘excess’ and ‘unfairness’, and one can see the Aspen case is of particular importance for future cases.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Competition and Regulatory Law Review
Issue number3
Pages (from-to) 207 - 221
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2022

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Law - excessive pricing, competition law, sector regulation, European Commission

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