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French antitrust watchdog launches public consultation regarding distribution of OTC medicines

On 18 October 2018, the French Competition Authority (FCA) announced the opening of a public consultation relating to its sector inquiry into the distribution of medicines and biomedical laboratories launched in November 2017. Interested parties (such as healthcare professionals, pharmaceutical and health product distributors, retail pharmacies, etc.) are invited to submit comments to a set of Q&As (including a specific Q&A for companies that are active in the mass retail distribution sector and/or OTC personal hygiene and beauty products sector) until 18 November 2018.

On 21 November 2017, the FCA decided at its own initiative to issue an opinion on the healthcare sector, and more specifically on how the medicines and laboratory testing (also known as chemical pathology) markets function.  The FCA intends to publish a final non-binding opinion on the functioning of distribution of medicines and biomedical laboratories in early 2019. The opinion may contain recommendations for a new regulatory distribution model seeking to maintain quality healthcare protection as well as enable companies to benefit from the current economic opportunities offered by the EU (for example, online sales). The opinion will be supplemented by a second opinion on the price setting of medicinal products in summer 2019.

This post was originally co-authored by Patricia Carmona Botana.