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Belgian Competition Authority raids premises of wholesale pharmaceutical distributors

On 21 November 2016, the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) confirmed in a press release that it had conducted inspections at the premises of wholesale distributors of pharmaceutical and para-pharmaceutical products. The BCA claims to have identified indications of anticompetitive agreements among such wholesalers active in Belgium linked to the services they provide to pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies, in possible breach of Belgian and European Union competition rules. Media sources echoing the story have reported that the allegations concern price-fixing and market sharing practices.

According to the national newspaper De Standaard, the inspections were triggered by the market investigation carried out by the BCA during a merger control procedure in the pharmaceutical sector. The merger between PharmaBelgium and Belmedis brought to light information leading to suspicions of the alleged anticompetitive agreements. The inspections do not prejudge the outcome of the investigation. At this point in time it is unclear how long the investigation will take; the BCA has suggested that it might take up to one year.

A prior version of this post was originally published by the same authors in Practical Law – Life Sciences, December 2016 Issue (Thomson Reuters).