One of the main objectives of competition law is to protect consumers against abusive practices. However, it has rarely been used to directly address excessive prices for medicines. Debates around the opportunities and challenges of using competition law to address the problem of high prices of medicines are increasing worldwide. Can competition law be used in case of a lawful monopoly, such as those acquired through patents or regulatory measures? When is a price high enough to qualify as “excessive”?
Prof. Frederick Abbott will address these questions and present his research on the doctrine of excessive pricing applied to the pharmaceutical sector, based on his 2016 paper and a number of significant subsequent developments. He will present the main arguments for using competition law to address high medicines prices and technical aspects of how to determine when prices are excessive (e.g. considering cost of production, cost of development, degrees of risk).